Equipment is marked off limits at the Venice YMCA to meet social distancing rules. The Y reopened Tuesday.

Two of the largest fitness centers in the Venice area opened this week.

They include the Mike and Georgia Miller South County YMCA in Venice, which opened partially last week and opened fully Tuesday, and Planet Fitness in South Venice, which opened back up on Monday.

Allison Buzick, branch director at the Venice YMCA, stood at the building entrance Thursday fielding questions from visitors who wanted to come in.

“It’s non-stop. They come by all day long wanting to know when we’ll be open,” she said. “People are really excited and ready to get to the gym.”

Buzick spent the past week supervising deep cleaning, rearranging of equipment to meet social distancing CDC guidelines, and educating trainers and staff about CDC other rules and guidelines outlined by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“We’re working on developing procedures and educating staff and communication for staff so they know what to expect when we open,” Buzick said.

The Y opened its pool last week and moved bicycle spinning classes outside in the back parking lot.

“People are really enjoying the outside spinning classes,” Buzick said.

On Tuesday, the Y reopens its doors to the main gymnasium with floor equipment and weights. Gone are the yoga mats; clients will have to bring their own. Equipment is spread out or taped off to meeting social distance rules.

Per state guidelines, masks and gloves are optional and people are required to clean equipment after each use.

Buzick said she’s been in contact with other Y’s around the nation and the Florida State Alliance of YMCAs and expects around 25% of members at the high end initially to return to the gym.

Planet Fitness

Becky Zirlen, spokeswoman for Planet Fitness, a national chain with 2,000 gyms, said Florida gymnasiums from Bradenton to Naples, including the South Venice location, will reopen Monday.

As with the Venice YMCA, Planet Fitness staff will be wearing masks, but it’s up to members to decide if they want to wear one, Zirlen said.

GTFL Athletics

GTFL Athletics, specializing in children’s gymnastics, kept it’s doors open during the last two months of the pandemic shutdown by turning itself into a hybrid day care-school-gymnasium called School Camp.

As a day care, parents can drop a child off with only 24 hours notice, for any day or days of the week.

“It’s been 5-8 kids per day but it doesn’t pay the bills,” Chrissy Brown said. “Parents appreciate that we keep it open. We have 10 or less children and they can do athletics and they also do their homework and we help them.”

GTFL stands for Gator Tens For Life. Brown was a University of Florida gymnast who parlayed her athletic prowess into a business offering gymnastics training, and judo and ju jitsu martial arts classes.

“You strive to be a 10 in what you do,” Brown said.

She’s preparing now for camp, which begins in June.

“We’re one of the few offering a summer camp,” Brown said. “Most have been canceled due to COVID-19. We will be one of the few open.”

Brown is optimistic about the COVID recovery.

“I think in the coming week we will see things definitely pick up.”


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