'Reimagined experience': Bay Area fitness clubs, gyms prepare for reopening after COVID-19 restrictions ease

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Preparations are underway at hundreds of Bay Area gyms and clubs as they figure out ways to re-open their operations. What will it look like to walk into your favorite club or gym?

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24 Hour Fitness Chief Operating Officer Karl Sanft calls it a "reimagined experience." There are 65 24 Hour Fitness clubs around the Bay Area. Two out of three cardio machines will be closed to maintain social distancing and they are planning on touchless check-in systems as members schedule time at the gym on their app.

Sanft said, "You will have the ability up to the day before to make reservations. These reservations will be for one-hour increments. After each one of the increments, we will close for a half hour to clean our facilities. "

At the Bay Club in Walnut Creek, staff zoom training sessions are underway on new sanitizing protocols. They have moved a lot of their equipment for cycling and rowing outdoors into zones by the pool.

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"Inside the machines have been spaced 6 to 8 feet apart," Bay Club Sr. Executive VP Annie Appel said. "You'll see taping off of pods for people that are 10 x 10 spaces. And the other piece of it is a reservation system. The reservation system will allow us to control the number of people on the property and the flow."

Capacity limits may start at 25% at the 14 Bay Clubs in the Bay Area. Spas and saunas will remain closed for now. Eventually, lockers and showers would likely be limited to the use of every third one. Gyms and sports courts have been re-purposed with cardio equipment and with room for limited child recreation activities. For group classes like yoga, there are taped boxes on the floor and you would no longer be able to bring your own mat. You'd have to use a club issued sanitized one.

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Clubs and gyms are currently working county by county to get the OK to re-open. Some are hoping that by Memorial Day weekend lap swimming and outdoor fitness areas could get a green light.

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