After three months of confinement, the clients were to rendezvous at the rock climbing gym Rock Gyms, all smiles to be able to return to train.
22 June 2020 17h39
Re-opening of the gym: between trepidation and excitement
It is with a sigh of relief that the owners of training centres have re-opened their doors on June 22. “It is as if we went on a little to zero,” says François-Guy Thivierge, owner of the climbing center Rock Gym. After three months of confinement, the customers were also at the rendezvous, any smile to be able to return to train.
“In 28 years, I have never closed more than two consecutive days. There, it has been closed for over 100 days, so it is sure that we leave a little bit to zero,” begins Mr. Thivierge. The confinement has made him lose several contracts, including group bookings, but the latter prefers to look to the future. His expectations for the summer are conservative and realistic : “It should not have too great expectations not to be disappointed”. The owner is aware that people have been confined for several months and want to enjoy the outdoors : “They will not necessarily lead to the interior, but we have all summer to absorb what just happened and prepare for the high season that begins in September.”
During the confinement, he and his team, not knowing if the gyms interiors would open on during the summer, had the idea to build a climbing wall outside. Located in the courtyard of the hotel, this new addition will be offered to visitors in three weeks.
The owner of the Planet Fitness Gym in Saint-Roch, Pascal Gravel, had also look forward to the reopening of his establishment : “We are all a little nervous. A little as if it was the first day of opening.” At 11 am, a dozen of clients-in-training on the machines. Despite the three months of closing, Mr. Gravel says it is still confident for the future : “I have no fear of losing customers, even on the contrary, I believe that the summer is going to be better than the others given that it has been closed for a while. It has failed to a lot of people,” he adds. But if the confinement had extended for a few months, this last does not believe that he would have been able to get out of financièremen t: “I gave the choice to my customers to continue their payments, or stop. 95% of the people have continued to encourage me. It is this that has helped me to get through the crisis.”
As for the Mega Fitness Gym, a forty guests were present at noon, “”rush hour”. The owner Dan Marino had reopened his establishment before the legal date, i.e. on 16 June. Police officers were cleared on the same day following a complaint, had written a report of the situation and had forwarded the case to the Director of criminal and penal prosecutions (DPCP). Mr. Marino has still decided to remain open. He claims not to have had the visit other police officers since the incident. Since its reopening, it will see 250 new subscribers : “Many congratulated me, saying to me that I was standing”. Despite the month of June at the usual less busy, he note that customers are at the appointment : “It seems that people were so much looking forward to returning to training.”
Get back in shape, finally!
Bernard Lefrançois, aged 66, was looking forward to what the Planet Fitness Gym reopens. “I am a certain age, so just quit for that long, it develops bobos everywhere, he points out. It’s been really good again.” For the one who trains six days per week in normal times, the sudden stop has been very difficult. During the three months of confinement, he took walks, and played golf, “but this is not the same”, he says.
Same sound of bell on the side of Joel Breton, who began climbing it a year and a half. The one who trains 4 to 5 times per week was visibly very happy with his first outing climbing for the past three months : “I’m excited at the idea of a return climb and review the people with whom I was accustomed to climb. It is very satisfying to be able to go up on the walls and stretch the muscles.”
During the containment, Joel trained at home with weights and did the hike, “but this is not at all the same thing, they are not the same muscles that are engaged”, he says. Three months of confinement have been challenging at the level of his physical form : “I have lost 15 pounds of muscle mass! For the first day, I will take it quiet, because my muscles are not used to.”
Better late than never
Joel Breton also believes that the date of reopening of training centres could have been earlier : “The majority of people who come [to the Rock Gyms] are fit and healthy and they respect the rules of public health. But I also understand why it was so late.”
The owner of the Planet Fitness abounds in the same sense : “If one compares with other businesses, I think we would have been able to open at least there is a 30 days, he says, here people do pay attention to their health and are respectful of others.”
As the owner of the Rock Gym, Mr. Thivierge, he says some owners of training centres will find the reopening more difficult than others, but that his gym will in spite of everything. “It is sure he has found it difficult, but we will be able to go up the mountain”, a metaphor there. “If I managed to climb the Everest, I’ll be able to climb it”, joke-t-it.