JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Exercise buffs are back to the grind after gyms were allowed to officially reopen across Florida on Monday morning.
As part of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plan to ramp up Florida’s economy following the pandemic closures, gyms and fitness centers were allowed to open back up at 50% capacity.
After being closed about two months, Any Time Fitness at San Jose and University boulevards is one of many gyms across the state to take advantage of new rules and reopen Monday.
Early birds like Brian Griffis couldn't wait to get back to the grind.
"It's like taking a two and a half month vacation without any gym, and then trying to regroup and reconnect this morning,” Griffis said. “It's just phenomenal to be here."
Griffis wasn't alone in his excitement.
"I'm going to run, work off the alcohol that I've been drinking for the whole of nine weeks. It's embarrassing,” Haley Ward said. “I've gained so much weight. So I'm just going to run the whole time."
With a room full of equipment, social distancing guidelines are strict. Signs are posted at spots considered off-limits, and all equipment must be wiped down. This comes with good reason.
Researchers said the virus can spread easily in a gym because of the moist, warm atmosphere and turbulent air flow generated by intense physical exercise.
So, how do you stay safe when hitting the gym?
Experts suggest you avoid going during peak hours, which are generally between 8 and 10 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m.
Wipe down equipment before and after you use it, always wash your hands and don't touch your face
At the Any Time fitness location News4Jax visited on Monday, group exercise classes are canceled for the time being, and deep cleaning will be happening daily.
All in all, members said they feel comfortable and safe.
"Everything seems to be disinfected and wiped down. You can smell it. I'm happy with what they're doing,” Griffis said.
Gyms all over urge people to be responsible and follow the guidelines they have in place to protect you and others.