COLUMBUS (WCMH) — As global concern grows over the spread of the coronavirus, thousands of athletes are arriving in Columbus for the Arnold Sports Festival.
The annual event is expected to draw more than 22,000 athletes from more than 80 countries.
While in town, many of the athletes often spend time working out at area gyms. NBC4 reached out to several area workout centers, but only heard back from two.
Both Life Time Fitness and The Fitness Loft said they are cleaning their equipment more often than normal, in light of the coronavirus concerns. They are encouraging members to frequently use the provided hand sanitizer.
“Obviously, we’re a little bit extra cautious right now,” said Teresa Moore, from The Fitness Loft.
For the first since opening six years ago, The Fitness Loft will not offer day or guest passes while the Arnold Sports Festival is ongoing.
Moore said that decision is to prevent overcrowding and to protect clientele from the possible spread of the coronavirus.
“We’ve made the decision to not allow day passes this weekend just to be safe, just as a precaution,” she said. “If nothing happens, then nothing happens, but just for our members, our staff, we’re trying to stay healthy, too. We just decided not to allow any day passes right now.”
In response to NBC4’s inquiry about preventing the spread of the coronavirus, a spokesperson from Life Time Fitness issued the following statement:
Life Time is monitoring this very closely along with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and local health officials. As a company committed to helping our members live healthy, happy lives, we have a long-held commitment to provide safe and clean environments for our members, guests, and Team Members.
With this in mind, we have always had rigorous cleaning protocols and products in place throughout our clubs. Our cleaning products, including Purell Healthcare Spray brand, have been found to be effective against viruses of this type, including Coronavirus (COVID-19).
While we fully recognize the difficulty in ensuring all surfaces are free of any virus, we are working tirelessly to do what we can as an organization, including adding more Purell stands throughout our clubs and increasing hours for Team Members for increased cleaning.
At the same time, we encourage our members and Team Members to follow the guidance of the CDC for their own safety, to use good hygiene measures, to wipe down equipment before and after use and remain at home if ill.
We want our members to focus on being healthy through quality nutrition, sleep and movement. As we know, healthy bodies are more resilient bodies.
Officials with the Arnold Sports Festival said they will screen all athletes before they compete.