VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — On April 1, social gatherings can get a little larger. Governor Ralph Northam ruled that Virginians can have as many as 50 people indoors at one time now. The number for outdoor gatherings is up to 100.
That’s a bonus for gyms that hold group fitness classes. For some time, class capacity in Virginia was capped at 10. Many gyms like the Virginia Beach Recreation Centers require online reservations.
“I am nervous on Friday at noon trying to get the classes you want for the next week,” said gymgoer Carol Sykes. “I am scared to leave my phone or computer.”
But, scheduling just opened up! The governor loosened the reins on April 1. Gyms can hold 50 people for indoor classes, 100 outdoor.
Virginia Beach Recreation Centers are easing in. Officials said they are starting with 20 to 25 people in group fitness classes. Participants must be 10 feet apart, according to state guidelines.
“People have been really eager to get back and staff have been really eager to get people back in the centers,” said instructor Alan Rogers.
Rogers said they keep an eye on spacing and sanitize equipment constantly.
“We mount everybody up, we have wipes, we have everything you can think of,” Rogers said. “And staff is available to clean everything too.”
The change is exciting for gyms across the board.
A spokesperson for One Life Fitness said they have options for indoor, outdoor, and more:
“We will continue to enforce friendly social distancing and protocol in the clubs to create the safest environment for our amazing members and our Team. We’re also amping up our outdoor class options to pair perfectly with warmer temps! As well as increasing our overall number of classes to choose from!”
Due to COVID restrictions, classes at the VB Recreation Centers are open to two groups.
“Premier members and then the senior-based programs,” Rogers said.
Rogers said the staff wants to see how new capacities go before they kick it into high gear.
“Would love to see numbers go up again,” Rogers said. “In terms of classes, we will see how that goes. But for right now we are really concerned with keeping things safe and keeping the excitement really high.”
Virginia Beach Recreation Centers are also looking to hire a significant number of instructors. Officials said they lost many during the pandemic. They hope to recruit more and in turn add more classes.