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Local gyms take action, limit services to prevent spread of coronavirus

Evan Quinn, 14, wipes down her equipment as instructor Rebecca Williams passes out additional disinfecting wipes before a class at Mountain Fit on Friday, March 13. The studio, as well as many others, is taking extra steps to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Shelby Reardon

Editor’s note: Old Town Hot Springs has since announced that it will close for two weeks, beginning Sunday, March 15.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As the concerns about COVID-19 spread and the cancellations grow, individuals may experience rising levels of stress, anxiety or fear. One of the best ways to alleviate those feelings is physical activity and exercise.

While most large-scale athletic events have been suspended, local gyms and studios are still open but have made some changes to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“One thing I’m super (adamant about) in this really unprecedented time in our world and our community is just how important physical exercise is to maintain your overall health, your mental health and to alleviate stress,” said Shannon Crow, co-creator and founder of Out Here Yoga. “(It) allows people to keep their immunity up by being healthy and fit with sleep and good nutrition.”

Out Here Yoga has eliminated all shared equipment and is asking attendees to bring their own blocks, bands and towels. The studio also has stopped hands-on assists and its lavender eye savasana towel service. Additionally, Out Here Yoga is limiting class sizes to 25 people to allow more space in between mats.

“We’ve always had good sanitary practices here, but we’re really cleaning all shared spaces and things like door handles and faucets, disinfecting those in between classes,” Crow said.

Effective Saturday, March 14, the Old Town Hot Springs will be implementing some major changes in response to COVID-19.

In addition to the nightly deep disinfecting that occurred even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the facility has increased its sanitization efforts, focusing on high-use areas such as door knobs and the front desk. Like other studios, Old Town Hot Springs will reduce class sizes and potentially even reduce the number of classes on the schedule.

Many amenities at Old Town Hot Springs are suspended such as: Steamboat Swim Team practices; use of the climbing wall; the saunas; Tuesday senior programs; massage therapy services; childcare services; and use of the non-chlorinated Heart Springs pool.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there is no evidence the virus can be transmitted through public pools as long as they are properly maintained with chemicals such as chlorine.

“We’re still OK with keeping the rest of our pools open but with an abundance of caution, and because we can’t find anything substantial, we’re going to close that one pool,” said Vanessa Cory, marketing director for Old Town Hot Springs.

The leadership team will meet daily to reassess the situation and consider any further changes.

Despite being a go-to location for visitors and locals alike, Cory doesn’t think visiting Old Town Hot Springs puts people at a higher risk of contracting the virus compared to other gyms and studios.

“We are really confident in our cleaning processes,” Cory said. “I feel really confident being here.”

Mountain Fit started taking action more than a week ago but has since ramped up its efforts to keep their facility clean.

“We’re limiting the use of floor exercises, so we’re staying off of our mats as much as possible,” said Rebecca Williams, owner of Mountain Fit. “Today, I taught a class where we did all our stretches standing up, just because the floor is one of the hardest things for us to maintain as clean.” 

Before and after each class, participants and instructors wipe down every piece of equipment. Additionally, the studio has suspended all circuit-style classes in which participants move from station to station.

For those who no longer wish to attend classes or are exhibiting symptoms, Out Here Yoga and Mountain Fit have virtual options. Williams and Crow said they will send out workout videos to any member who requests one. 

“I already had a few recorded, and now, I’ve been recording classes,” Williams said. “We want them to still be able to utilize their membership with us, but if their choice is to do it from the comfort of their own home, they can do that and still get new exercises, new workouts.”

To meet the same goal, Williams said Mountain Fit will be more active on social media, suggesting more at-home exercises and workouts that people can do. 

The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club has suspended all van travel, closed its strength center and canceled all end-of-season banquets. They will continue to hold outdoor practices, though.

“The snow is in good condition, and we believe that activity in the fresh air is good for our athletes,” the SSWSC said in a news release.

To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.


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