LIFTING THE WEIGHT: Local gyms get to open the doors
THE Yamba sunlight shines into Matt Carlin's gym, as he gives it a dust-over, ready for the noise of training to start again on June 13.
Owner of "The Gym", he said he's excited to hear the sounds of exercise again, after COVID-19 restrictions shut them down on March 23.
"It will be good," he said. "I much prefer the group training because of the dynamic that it brings.
"There's a lot of interaction and the dynamic works really well.
"It'll be good to get everyone back in, and I've had a lot of feedback from members who are looking forward to it, so it's a really big positive."
While he acknowledged that he wouldn't have wanted to be in the position of government, Mr Carlin said he thought the communication of the timeline could've been better.
"I just think there could've been a clearer timeline of when everything was going to open," he said. "It would've been nice for them to say they were aiming for a date … rather than go you've got two weeks.
"We will be ready, but I think there could've been more time."
Mr Carlin has only been able to train with some of his members one-on-one, which he has been offering at a reduced rate to keep people engaged with their exercise.
"There were a lot of members who said they wouldn't do anything, just walk and do their own thing, and I've noticed that there has been a bigger commitment from the community who had started being active in their own way," he said.
"But the habit forming is pretty essential, and I've found that the people who did come and train with me said it was big of them to maintain that habit and the accountability.
"For some of them who weren't working it was giving them something to look forward to."
For Grafton Anytime Fitness owner Kathryn Langford, she said that a lot of their members had similar experiences, the break showing them they needed the facility to maintain their motivation.
"They thought they'd be okay to keep it up by themselves, but they've found they need the facility to come and dedicate that time to themselves," she said.
The gym, which recently took out an Australia-wide award for Best Fitness Business said that they had been working on extensive plans to open the doors.
"We've got a really extensive COVID plan in place. When we open it'll be a very different gym.
"All our equipment has been moved and spaced apart so it's all 1.5m, and we've more than doubled our sanitising stations and wipe stations.
"Things like our water cooler and showers won't be operating - we've really looked at what we can do to make sure we're meeting all the requirements.
Ms Langford said that they would not operate their usual classes for the first week to see what the response would be to the reopening.
"We just don't know what to expect, so we'll see who comes in, what the demand is like," she aid.
"We'll make that decision after who comes and how they're feeling, because we have to build their trust and confidence that we do have a clean and safe facility."
Using the ten week break to do some maintenance on the building, Ms Langford said they were excited to see their members again.
"We did cartwheels when we heard the announcement," she said. "It's been a very long ten weeks for our members and our team, and everyone is busting to get back working.
"We've got a few surprises for everyone when we open back up again … but we are ready."