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One of Kentucky’s largest fitness providers ready for Monday reopening

One of the most anticipated reopenings in Kentucky is scheduled to happen Monday morning when gyms and fitness centers get the green light.
Updated: May. 28, 2020 at 5:59 PM EDT
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Planet Fitness said that it's not just social distancing; it's also practicing social fitnessing.
Planet Fitness said that it's not just social distancing; it's also practicing social fitnessing.(WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - One of the most anticipated reopenings in Kentucky is scheduled to happen Monday morning when gyms and fitness centers get the green light.

WAVE 3 News caught up with the state’s largest fitness provider, Planet Fitness, about the upcoming first day back. It’s no joke; people have started groups on social media with fitness ideas to help not pack on the COVID-19 pounds with no gyms open.

Monday, that all changes.

Bright and early at 6 a.m., Planet Fitness employees like 11-year staffer Shelby Likens will welcome customers back, opening its regional franchise with 28 stores in the Commonwealth, including two brand new, 20,000-square-foot fitness centers in St. Matthews and Richmond. Those members will be welcomed into a highly-sanitized environment, because so much is on the line. After all, people have gotten used to exercising outdoors during the pandemic.

Planet Fitness put together a reopening playbook that’s more than 100 pages of safety and sanitizing guidelines to help get clients back. While masked employees are asked health questions and get temperature checks before coming in, guidelines include constant cleaning and added sanitation stations to ensure no sweaty machines.

For members, it’s all about social distancing or social “fitnessing,” as Planet Fitness likes to call it, with a hands-free app.

“You’ll be able to check in and we won’t have to touch key tags and there’s no touch points throughout the store.” Planet Fitness Regional Brand President Mark Nelson said.

Being open 24/7 helps social distancing, as does only allowing 33-percent capacity. It’s easier to have treadmills spaced apart, so if you want to use a machine with plenty of space and without a mask, you can.

“It’s strongly encouraged to wear a mask, but it’s not going to be required,” Nelson said.

Disposable masks will be available for members who want them for coming and going and moving to different areas of the gym. Nelson said being able to open the chain’s Southern Indiana locations a week earlier than Kentucky hasn’t been bad. He said it helped them figure out what times of day were busiest for staffing needs.

“Operationally, we were able to identify things real quick to make things even better," Nelso said.

Planet Fitness said Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshaer’s guidelines are do-able, good for the public and they’re hopeful it makes the fitness industry better overall.

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