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Gyms, Yoga and Martial Arts Studios Hustling For Cleaning Supplies As They Reopen

All-Star Martial Arts in Jacksonville is sterilizing the facility and adding extra hand santizing stations for students to use.
All-Star Martial Arts in Jacksonville is sterilizing the facility and adding extra hand santizing stations for students to use.

With gyms and other fitness facilities like martial arts and yoga studios reopening on the First Coast, the demand for cleaning supplies is intensifying, with hand sanitizer being one of things that can be hard to find.

All-Star Martial Arts in Jacksonville, which reopened Monday, is making its own sanitizer, based on recipes found online.

“You gotta get creative,” owner Ernie McKinney said. “If you don't have it, you gotta make it...plus, it’s a good activity for the students.” 

The studio is limiting group sizes to 15 students per class, with McKinney planning to offer virtual classes for the foreseeable future. 

All-Star has also modified it’s curriculum. The studio is restricting student-to-student contact. Sparring isn’t allowed.

“Now you have to be kind of creative and visualize your opponent attacking you when you're going through your sequence of movements,” said McKinney. 

Related:  Local, State, And National Coronavirus Coverage

McKinney said the studio keeps a stock of all supplies used regularly, but he’s also relied on parent donations. 

The studio’s staff is cleaning all frequently touched areas, like door handles. They’ve also placed hand sanitizer stations around the studio. 

All facilities that choose to reopen during Phase 1 are required to implement social distancing guidelines and have additional cleaning supplies ready for customers and staff. 

While most facilities are ready to reopen and abide by the guidelines, they’re finding having enough cleaning supplies a common challenge

Dori Thomsen, who co-owns Soluna Yoga and Spa with her husband, said they began ordering supplies in late April. 

Soluna Yoga and Spa is choosing to remain closed and continue virtual sessions for the time being.
Credit Via Soluna Yoga and Spa
Soluna Yoga and Spa is choosing to remain closed and continue virtual sessions for the time being.

“Just about everything is on backorder until June,” Thomsen said. 

She is choosing not to reopen the business for now, instead continuing with virtual sessions. 

“Our motto in this phase is slow and steady,” Thomsen said. “We just want to take things slow, and make sure we're finalizing our safety measures properly.”

While they plan their reopening, Thomsen and her staff are stocking up on supplies by selling off other equipment that isn’t considered sanitary to keep around. 

“Block, bolsters, blankets, we love using yoga props in the practice,” Thomsen said. “But we're no longer able to use yoga props because that doesn't provide a very sanitary environment.” 

Soluna invested in a UVC light in their ventilation system that uses ultraviolet light to disinfect the area of bacteria. 

Meanwhile, Training For Warriors (TFW), a gym in Ponte Vedra Beach, is seeing an uptick in the desire for private gym sessions. 

Owner Phil Squatrito said the gym is limiting groups sizes to 12 or less, and members need to sign up ahead of time. 

Like the others, Squatrito is finding it challenging to keep up with the demand for cleaning supplies.

“Your hand sanitizers, your wipes, your Lysol sprays, that's like finding diamonds in the desert right now,” Squatrito said. 

TFW has gotten help from people that go to the gym, along with other employees on the lookout for supplies.

Training For Warriors is requiring anyone who wants to train there to sign up to schedule a time, so the business can maintain smaller groups.
Credit Via TFW
Training For Warriors is requiring anyone who wants to train there to sign up to schedule a time, so the business can maintain smaller groups.

At TFW, each person that comes in gets their own station with towels and spray bottles for cleaning. After every class, the staff cleans all of the equipment. A disinfecting company will do an even deeper cleaning a few times a month. 

Squatrito said only 40-50% of the clients are coming compared to pre-pandemic attendance, but he expects more people will become comfortable with going back to the gym over the next couple of weeks. Many are still taking advantage of the virtual training TFW offers. 

He said the gradual stream of business actually helps the gym out. 

“We can make sure all these practices are in place, and we got a system and we got it down,” Squatrito said. “Now, when the bigger surge happens, we can still keep all those protocols and safety measures intact.”

Sky Lebron can be reached at slebron@wjct.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @SkylerLebron.

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