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El Paso gym owners prepare to help members workout at a distance

gym fitness equipment
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Fitness equipment in an empty gym.

EL PASO, Texas-- It's been one of the biggest questions asked, when are gyms going to reopen in Texas? With hair salons and other beauty parlors opening at 25% capacity, gyms are following suit on Monday.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has laid out guidelines to partially reopen gyms to anxious members. Gym owners will have to reduce their operating capacity to 25% and enforce social distance in their workout spaces. For small gym owners like Mike Olivas, it's an adjustment he finds no problem with.

"I told them you need to text me and wait for confirmation to know that your spot is saved, since I can only have 10 folks working out at a time. As soon I sent that out, people were asking me if it was too early to reserve their spot for Monday," said Olivas of Fit For Life Gym.

Olivas, like other gym owners around the city, are taking the Covid-19 outbreak seriously. Threatening to kick out any members not following guidelines, and taking additional steps to ensure cleanliness.

"I have a no-contact temperature gun and I'll be taking temperatures. We’ve removed the water fountains and we installed a hand washing station, which is pretty cool. That’s going to be one of the guidelines, it is mandatory, wash your hands upon entrance," Olivas explained.

Heath experts, though, are not completely on board with the move to open gyms. The chief of infectious diseases at Texas Tech Health Sciences University believes that going to the gym is a risk individuals will have to weigh on their own.

"You need to have a very high level of awareness of what it is that you are getting into when you go to a gym. Asymptomatic carriers that we know exist now can feel perfectly healthy, and they are still going to pass the infection to someone," said Dr. Armando Meza.

A compromise Dr. Meza is encouraging is to continue to workout from home. If you must go to the gym, plan on reducing the frequency with which you work out to keep everyone safe.

"I would probably minimize the time I spend at the gym. I would minimize the frequency of going to a place maybe once a week, instead of two or three times a week," Dr. Meza said.

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JC Navarrete

El Paso native JC Navarrete co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend newscasts and reports during the week.

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