A national study recently confirmed it’s extremely safe to get back to working out at your local gym. And, the Hafter Student Community Center is no exception.

It reopened last month with new capacity limits in place – a maximum of 15 people per one-hour workouts are now allowed which also includes using the gymnasium. According to the study, “gyms have robust COVID-19 safety measures in place and there is zero evidence that the positive cases originated in gyms themselves.”

The Hafter Center is no different. Averaging about 30 people a day, according to program manager, Kendall Rosen, “the current system is working really well and we are making sure we stay within capacity limits and that members have appropriate physical distancing during their workouts.” 

Hafter Center EntranceSince reopening, students, faculty and staff have to reserve workout times through the PTminder app/website. “We have 10 one-hour workout blocks available every day, Monday through Friday, with time in between each block for the staff to thoroughly clean and disinfect any equipment that was used,” Rosen said.  

While the Hafter Center staff was very visible conducting virtual workouts during quarantine, and “went above and beyond to stay connected and offer classes, workouts, advice, and encouragement,” regulars are thrilled to be back. “They were nothing short of amazing. But to be able to actually be back and use the gym and work with the staff (safely) has been so great and rewarding for my physical and mental health,” said Caitlin Vitoria, MA, assessment data manager, Technology and Learning Services.
 
Below is a Q and A of feedback we received from a few regulars on what it’s like being back and the safety measures put in place:  

Q: Tell me about your experience and how you utilize the gym since it has reopened and what does that process entail? 

Gym
Caitlin Vitoria, MA
Assessment Data Manager
Technology and Learning Services
 

“I use the gym about two to three times a week, depending on my schedule. I sign up on PTminder a couple of days in advance for whichever block is easiest to work around my schedule. They do the temp checks at the door and I sign in. I head to the locker room to change and prep for my workout. Typically I go into the main gym area, where they've set up various workout stations around the perimeter of the gym. You can go to any station with a green card which means it's been wiped down and disinfected. Once you pick a station, you turn the card over to the red side to indicate that the equipment at that station has been used and needs to be wiped down after you are done. I typically use the free weights, barbell, and step bench. They also have additional equipment that you can bring to your station if you need; you just have to leave it at your station when you are done so they know to wipe it off. The staff usually checks in to see if anything is needed and to answer any questions I have. They also offer advice on form or specific exercises to target an area if you ask them. They are seriously so helpful. After the workout, you just make sure your card is turned over to the red side and you can head out. You just need to swipe your card at the exit.”
 
Daniela Faux ‘21OTDaniela Faux Working Out

"I start out with the treadmill and go to one that has the green tag so I know that it is clean. After I finish on the treadmill I wipe it down and place the green tag on the front desk. From there I start out by using the machines and then use dumbbells. I also clean everything after I use it.”
 Andrew Muckin ‘21OD
 
“For the most part, my utilization of the gym is very similar to what it was pre-COVID. Perhaps the biggest change is having to schedule a one-hour appointment block to work out ahead of time. I use all of the equipment I normally use, including barbells, dumbbells, and machines, but now after utilizing any free weights or weight plates we place them in a taped-off area to be cleaned at the end of the session. While this sometimes limits usable equipment and creates lots of work for the Hafter staff, it helps limit contact between gym-goers.”
  
Q: Do you feel safe working out at the Hafter Student Community Center?
 

Landon Cleaning EquipmentVitoria: “I feel very safe working out at Hafter. They're taking a lot of precautions and have a lot of processes and procedures to make sure that no matter a person's comfort level with being in a gym, they will feel safe at Hafter.” 
 
Faux: “I feel very safe working out at the Hafter. It is not crowded when I go and the people who go keep their distance from each other.”
 
Muckin: “I feel very safe while working out at the Hafter Center. All of the students are taking the new safety measures seriously, especially wearing a mask at all times. Also, all of the trainers are doing an incredible job keeping the equipment clean and the facility running smoothly.”
 
Q: Were you excited for them to reopen? 
 
Vitoria: “I can neither confirm nor deny that I sent multiple emails to the Hafter staff asking when they were re-opening or expressing my excitement at the fact that they were re-opening. I was very excited to get back to a familiar place and with familiar people doing something that I really enjoy. It was also really nice to get back to all of the different equipment they have to offer and not rely on my sand-filled milk jugs for weights.”
 
Faux: “I was so excited when I read that the gym was going to open again. I made sure I signed up for the very first time slot the day they opened.”
 
Muckin: “I couldn't wait for the Hafter Center to reopen! Many students, including myself, use the Hafter Center to stay both physically and mentally healthy, as exercising is a great way to relieve stress. While other forms of exercise were still possible during the closure, the Hafter Center allows for a much greater variety to keep my workout routine exciting.”
  
Q: How many days a week are you utilizing the facility?
 
Vitoria: “I am usually at the facility two to three times a week. I work from home some days, so I don't usually make the trek over. But I do come in several days a week, and I try to get in every day that I am on campus.”
 
Faux: “I am at the Hafter four to five days a week.”
 
Muckin: “I try to utilize the fitness center five days a week - the biggest challenge is being able to attend my scheduled workout appointment with limited Hafter Center hours and a busy externship (I'm currently externing at Matossian Eye Associates in Hopewell, New Jersey). Hopefully, after seeing the success and safety of the initial opening, we can start to expand the weekday hours back to normal and maybe even have the gym back open on weekends!"