The Return Of Mask Mandates Frustrates Gym Owners

August 27, 2021 by
Photo Credit: Kay Wiese
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While many states and cities lifted mask mandates for the fully vaccinated over the summer (much to the relief of gym-goers across the country) due to vaccine rollouts and dropping COVID rates, new spikes in COVID are causing several cities and states to return to indoor mask mandates.

One big thing: Currently, Washington DC, Boston, Nevada, New Mexico, and Oregon have enacted mask mandates regardless of vaccination status, though Nevada is easing those requirements. 

  • For many gym owners, this is a step backwards after an already difficult year battling Covid-19 mandates.
  • “We’re 100% on board with keeping people as safe as possible. Especially kids who can’t yet be vaccinated,” said Rocket Community Fitness of Seattle in an Instagram post last weekend.
  • “So we’ll be putting our masks on and doing our part to stop the spread of the Delta variant, which is so much more dangerous than previous variants. BUT we’re pissed because this was all preventable,” they continued.

In Canada, gym owners are experiencing similar frustrations. Vancouver, BC recently reinstated their mask policy for most indoor facilities, including fitness facilities.

  • “The return of the mask protocol has definitely added a level of anxiety to owning & running the gym,” said Troy Saith, the owner of CrossFit BC.

Pros and cons: The mask mandates for all can have both positive and negative effects on gym attendance.

  • On the one hand, full mask mandates can provide a sense of security for members who didn’t feel comfortable being in close proximity to those unmasked.
  • However, many gym owners agree that mask policies add a level of inconvenience and frustration for many members who find it uncomfortable to wear a mask during high intensity exercise. 
  • “The fact that people were able to fitness again without a mask is what started bringing people back in the doors,” said Alana Parett, the owner of CrossFit Nanaimo in Vancouver, BC.

Forward march: Despite what appears to be a setback for gym owners, many have simply taken it in stride, another bump in the road on the return to normalcy.

  • “With every bump in the road, our community has continually demonstrated that we are able to roll with the punches. Minor inconveniences in our pursuit of fitness seems trivial if it means it is for the greater good,” said Chris Gosler, owner of CrossFit Southie in Boston, Massachusetts where indoor mask mandates were reinstated on Friday.
  • “We know what to expect and are aware of what our community is made of and we are confident we will continue to do what we need to do to persevere,” he continued.
  • Gosler also noted that CrossFit Southie will once again start up their outdoor class schedule for those who don’t want to wear a mask while working out.

The big picture: With more and more cities and states moving towards full mask mandates, it seems that gym owners must once again adapt and change the way they run their gyms to continue providing a safe and fun fitness experience for members.

  • While it is certainly inconvenient and frustrating for many gym owners and members, at the end of the day, it’s simply another step towards a return to normal.
  • As Rocket Community Fitness of Seattle wrote in their Instagram post, “We’re all in this together, and as long as we look out for each other, we’ll get through this too. We’ve got this,”

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