COVID-19 restrictions ease in Marin, allowing indoor gyms to reopen

Brooke Leslie

After almost a year of Zoom workouts, Marin County is out of the most restrictive tiers, allowing local gyms like the Bay Club (Town Center Corte Madera), Orangetheory Fitness (Greenbrae) and TJ’s Gym (Larkspur) to open indoors. While following the Center for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) guidelines, these gyms have found new ways to stay safe in order to accommodate every member. They have made this possible by maintaining airflow through the gym space, keeping the equipment clean and staying socially distanced. 

The Bay Club

According to Gretchen Graves, a trainer for the Bay Club, their gyms have changed substantially in the past year to follow COVID-19 restrictions. Before the pandemic, Graves had about 15 clients that she would train regularly. Now she only trains four inside. Most of her clients are still reluctant to train in an enclosed ar

Utilizing the tennis courts, the Bay Club spread out equipment so the indoors and outdoors can both function as a gym.

ea with other people using the same equipment. To reduce the number of

clients canceling their memberships, the Bay Club has made upgrades to make the workout areas safer. 

“At one of our [Bay Club] gyms, they have opened up two indoor tennis courts and installed huge windows which are kept open so there is more airflow, but it is still not considered outdoors,” Graves said. 

With the indoor workout spaces opened, the gym feels much less crowded than it was before the pandemic. The COVID-19 regulations are set at 10 percent capacity so, in such a large facility, more people can fill the space without it feeling unsafe.

“Not only has the workout space gotten bigger and there are more places for people to work out, but fewer people come,” Graves said. 

An extra step that the Bay Club is also taking is offering members the option of carrying around a spray bottle filled with sanitizing spray and a towel when they check-in at the front desk, so they can easily clean equipment before and after use. According to Graves, this simple addition has made the gym cleaner and safer than it has ever been, and it will be a permanent option for people who would like to use the equipment indoors.

TJ’s Gym

Junior Gavin Green has been going to TJ’s Gym with his swim team since before the gym was able to reopen its indoors. According to Green, the group has taken the proper precautions to keep each other safe when working out outdoors, and they will continue to do so inside.

Courtesy of Hollis Belger
The doors at TJ’s Gym remain open while a small group works out with a trainer.

“When we go to the gym, we go in a smaller group so that it is easier to stay six feet apart while working out,” Green said. “Another benefit of being in a small group is that if someone

were to get [COVID-19], we would know who had been around that person and fewer people would be affected.”

The team is going to have to stay exceedingly mindful while being indoors, according to Green. Since there is less airflow, masks are mandated when in close proximity to each other. Even though this will make it more difficult to work out, the advantage of being inside and in person is worth it.  

Although Green enjoys training at home and with his friends, it is much better to do it with his teammates and coach at TJ’s gym. Recently, it is much easier for him to find the time to improve with school being partially online, and he has more flexibility in his schedule to go to the gym.

“I’ve been pretty lucky to have a consistent gym space that is open indoors as well because the pandemic has made me realize little things like that that I am grateful for. Having free time in my schedule allows me to better my training, and the gym being open definitely helps with that,” Green said.

Orangetheory Fitness

According to junior Skylar Solle, an employee at Orangetheory Fitness, the facility has become more creative with its space because of its smaller studio arrangement. The maximum capacity for the studio was originally 44 people before the pandemic, and now only 16 are allowed inside. Although opening the indoor space is exciting for Orangetheory Fitness, their outdoor areas are going to be crucial during the reopening stages. 

“We have space outside where we keep rowers, benches and weights with a large tent over it. Being outdoors, it’s very easy to maintain a distance and feel safe from others. Also, more people are willing to come join the workouts because they are still hesitant to go indoors with a group of people,” Solle said. 

Keeping members safe at the gym, tables with sanitizing supplies are set up outside Orangetheory, along with a sign to remind members of the rules and restrictions before entering the indoor gym space.

However, because they are keeping equipment outside, Orangetheory Fitness is dependent on the weather, proving the practicality of indoor availability. 

“Our members are now aware they have to look at the weather forecast before they come to the workouts because since it is winter, it can be too cold to hold group workouts. When it rains, we have to close down and we are unable to do anything, so moving inside is going to be a big step forward,” Solle said. 

According to Solle, most of the staff and all of the Orangetheory Fitness coaches stayed with the gym throughout the pandemic. They have all been devoted to opening the indoors and strive for a secure future. 

“I learned how resilient we were because we always figured out other ways to connect with our members,” Solle said. “It’s crazy to think that a year ago we were completely shut down, still trying to figure out Zoom workouts, and now we can hold workouts indoors, which is really exciting.”