COLORADO SPRINGS — The impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt across southern Colorado, and an industry that has taken a big hit are gyms and martial arts studios.
With El Paso County in Safer at Home: Level 3, they're faced with the daunting challenge of keeping capacity at 25 percent. But they tell News 5 that they've already prepared for tighter COVID-19 restrictions.
Brad and Susan Mikaelian own two franchises of F45 Athletics in Colorado Springs and have made several changes to adhere to state guidelines.
"We've put in certain adaptations such as a change in the workout structure. We've changed around the floor and the layout of the gym so we people are six feet apart. When they do change equipment, there is a break built-in for sanitization of the equipment. Anything that's difficult to sanitize has been removed," said Susan. "Class sizes are restricted and we have even changed the timing of our workout sessions to be able to deep clean and fog the studio.
Despite the changes, the couple says they've made it work with the health and safety of their members in mind.
"The main reason for going into this business was for health and wellness. Both for the two of us, but also for the community. We want to keep providing that, but now in the world of COVID-9 we want to keep doing that in a way that maintains health and safety from that standpoint as well," said Brad.
With the county in Safer at Home: Level 3, Brad and Susan say they haven't had to make any new adjustments since they've already been operating at 25 percent capacity. They say the restrictions have made it difficult to run a service-based business.
"When members can't get into their sessions than they're more apt to withdraw and without that member support, there's no way we can stay open because that is our source of revenue," said Susan.
The couple says it's more important than ever for the community to wear a mask and social distance.
"Everyone has to make changes to their business and business model to keep people safe and to keep operating," said Brad.
Jenn O'Neil has been attending F45 Training Colorado Springs Central for over a year. She says the precautions the gym is taking to ensure everyone's health and safety has kept her mind at ease during this time of uncertainty.
"They limit the number of people that come in and also how we clean the stations after each workout. I just feel safe about how clean it is here," said O'Neil.
Isaac and Heather Costley own CFMAF Martial Arts & Fitness and have been preparing for tighter COVID-19 restrictions.
"The key thing to us, like we teach in our martial arts, be proactive having a plan before something happens. So what we decided, always be ahead of what the governor decides to do. So although he's moving in level 3, we've always been there and beyond it," said Issac.
The studio has implemented new safety measures such as decreasing class sizes, but increasing the number of classes they have during the day.
"So people can go on their phones, register their own class, and know there won't be a maximum of nine people and a dedicated instructor. Once that class is full, it tells them it's full so they can wait for the next time slot. This way we've gone to over 40 classes a week, kept the classes really small, and increased the safety for everyone," said Issac.
He says they've already prepared for the new restrictions by creating their video-on-demand program, online unlimited classes, and setting up seminar speakers from all over the world. He says the only new change will be adding more online classes.
"We still want to keep the classes small. So instead of two online classes with 100 students, we might have 20 online classes that have five students in it. So that way they're still getting productive training," said Isaac.
As soon as students walk, they're required to have their mask on regardless of how they feel about wearing one. There are hand sanitizers stationed throughout the building to ensure they're staying clean and safe.
"Our classes offset so if a class ends at 3:40 p.m., we won't have another class start until 3:50 p.m. This way we can have a group leave as another group comes in. The only people allowed in the facility are those people working out only so parents get to sit outside or go to surrounding businesses," said Isaac.
He says by keeping their rates low for families, it's allowing them to still do things together and be away from their home.
For those interested in CFMAF Martial Arts and Fitness, head over to their website https://cfmaf.com/. F45 Training Northgate, https://f45training.com/northgateco/home (719) 726-4820, and F45 Colorado Springs Central, https://f45training.com/coloradospringscentral/home (719) 284-4344.