As vaccine distribution expands throughout Orange County, local gym owners say they have seen an increase in the number of people coming in to work out.
O2 Fitness in Carrboro closed for six months after lockdown began. Although it reopened in September, Dalton Shaw, the gym's general manager, only relaunched group exercise classes in early April.
Forty percent of Orange County's population is now fully vaccinated, according to the NCDHHS. Shaw said with this increased surge of immunity, the amount of people inside his facility has gone up substantially.
“There has been an increase this month from the 65+ demographic into our gym,” Shaw said. “A lot of people were unfreezing their memberships to come back this month. We have even more slated to unfreeze their accounts in May.”
Tommy Morgan, a fitness coach at Orangetheory Fitness, also said his gym has seen a similar increase.
He said his close relationships with members made him realize numerous people wanted to come back into the studio, but they were physically unable to return due to health concerns. Morgan said the vaccine has been transformative in bringing these members back in.
“This is where I really realized how many people either live or come in contact with immunocompromised people throughout their day,” Morgan said. “It was really an eye-opener for me.”
Morgan said Orangetheory never pressured members who were uncomfortable being in an enclosed space. He said the corporate offices waived the $15 membership freeze fee in order to accommodate its customer base.
When the studios were able to reopen their doors in the fall, Morgan said his gym maximized its safety precautions in order to create a safe environment for its members, which continues to be true as vaccinations spread.