Workout most of the time
At Workout Anytime, people can no longer work out any time. That’s one of the precautions taken by franchise owner Brett Least to protect the patrons and employees of the gym in Woodford Plaza that opened in December 2015. “We’re not allowed to go 24-7 until we can basically see the traffic flow and make sure that, you know, after our staffed hours, that 60 aren’t coming in at a time,” Least said. “It’s actually worked out pretty well.” A mid-March executive order by Gov. Andy Beshear directed fitness centers and other public facilities around the state to close by March 18 at 5 p.m. Another executive order a month later allowed them to reopen Monday, June 1, but for now, Least is restricting the hours to when staff are present. Outside the gym is a digital counter showing how many people are inside, with head counts done every five to 10 minutes, and the number (30) allowed under the one-third capacity rule. Rows of spray bottles with disinfectant stand on a table just inside the door, and patrons are asked to spray and wipe down the equipment they use. Employees do the same with all equipment every 15 minutes, according to Least. Prior to reopening, Least said he spent two weeks working to ensure each piece of equipment is at least six feet apart. Tape on the floor in the free weight area is also designed to remind people to stay apart, and his customers have been understanding, he said. “We haven’t had more than 20 people in there at a time,” Least said last Friday. Least said he spent much of the first week his gym was closed stopping the automatic bank drafts his customers use to pay their monthly fees. “That was stressful, because obviously, within that week, people’s dues came out and I was just trying to put out fires that way, but I finally got it shut off …” he said. Least said he began to look into applying for federal aid before he had to close the fitness center, and the Payroll Protection Program he successfully applied for helped him stick around until he could reopen. However, he said when Beshear’s late-April phased reopening plan didn’t include gyms, “That’s when I got worried.” Two weeks later, Beshear announced that fitness centers and movie theaters could reopen June 1, and Least began to breathe a bit easier. Another unwelcome task for Least was informing employees that he would have to, temporarily at least, let them go. “ … It was the first time in my life where you look at somebody in the face and you’re like, ‘I don’t know what to do here. I’m trying to work this out. Please file for unemployment and keep in touch with me.’ That was hard,” Least said. Two have since graduated from college and found jobs and the others have returned to work at the gym, he said. Last Friday, June 5, Lindsay Green jogged on a treadmill in Workout Anytime during her second visit since the gym reopened. Treadmills beside hers were shut down and bore signs headlined, “Skip me.” She said until the gym closed, she’d been coming pretty regularly. “So it was tough, being out for like two or three months,” she said. Green, a nurse who works in Lexington, said she tried to keep active during the ban. “In the downtime, I just tried to go out downtown with my dog and keep my distance,” she said. “I’m trying to do the same thing here, but (gym employees are) doing a pretty good job.” “I feel pretty good about being here,” Green added. Workout Anytime’s current hours are from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.