South Bay gym chain leaning on client's 'adult instincts' to stay healthy as they prepare for re-opening

Dustin Dorsey Image
Monday, June 15, 2020
American Barbell clubs prepares for re-opening with changes to gym
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The South Bay's American Barbell Clubs are ready for re-opening orders from Santa Clara County after introducing changes to the facility in accordance with county regulations. But the gym owner says people need to be responsible when the doors open again.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- As more and more Bay Area businesses reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, we are taking a look at how some of them are making changes to help keep their guests safe.

In our effort to help build a better Bay Area, ABC7 News South Bay Community Journalist Dustin Dorsey went on a private tour of American Barbell Clubs in South San Jose, Calif. to see what changes are being made and how the COVID-19 shut downs impacted the gym.

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Dorsey spoke with the owner and operator of American Barbell Clubs, Jerry McCall during his tour of the gym.

To defy, or not defy the rules?

"I've been at this for 38 years. It's been both rewarding and it's been very difficult. I've received emails and they wanted me to open months ago and defy all the rules. I'd hate to tangle with this virus, but I will be in my club. I'm going to come forward and show that I'm out here doing this and I think with some of the preventative measures that were asked to do, we could probably manage this."

"Overnight we've gone from a place to go get a workout to, 'we're automatically dirty' and 'we're infested with with this virus' or something. Some of the guidelines that have been thrown around, both from our industry and outside of the industry, are interesting and even ridiculous in some cases. We're getting close to reopening, Santa Clara County is tough. I'm probably more anxious than excited. It's going to be different and it's a walk into the unknown."

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'They're just recommendations'

"One of the safety precautions we took around the club was to put signage on every other cardio piece in our cardio areas. We're going to want to see a mask when you walk in and when you walk out of the club, and a lot of points in between. This idea that they're going to be asphyxiated from wearing their mask is kind of nonsensical.

"We have little stands that we put together and we'll have a roll towel and our spray disinfectant on them. This is in addition to every pail and roll towel dispenser we have around the club. We're adding more. They are just recommendations which I'm thankful for. We'll abide by a lot of them, but some of them are just unmanageable. A reservation system? I mean, you can't do that. Some of the club chains said, 'yeah, we're gonna be open for an hour and then close every hour for deep cleaning'. You'd have fights at your front door."

Leaning on people's 'adult instincts'

"We'll let people manage it. You come into any of my clubs, they're big, they're full of equipment. That's now an advantage. We don't want to micromanage people too heavily. We want to let people's adult instincts take over but we will keep an eye on things."

"A lot of this is up to you: bring a mask, make sure you have a mask and perhaps begin to think that a fitness regimen is a serious thing to undertake, as we can see what this virus has done. So come on back"

For more information about American Barbell Clubs, visit their website here.

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