The past two months have been difficult Bosco’s Gym, but that didn’t stop owner Sarah Galvan from providing her members with necessary workouts and yoga classes.
Having been closed since March 20, Bosco’s is seeing the light on the horizon after Gov. Greg Abbott’s announcement that gyms could open Monday, May 18.
Galvan said she can’t wait to get back to work at the gym at 1112 E. Main St.
“I’m very excited,” Galvan said. “I’ve definitely found a new groove at home and luckily my kids are done with school now so it’s the perfect time to get back to work. I miss seeing my clients and our members and seeing new faces coming in. None of asked for the gym to close. I didn’t feel like I needed a two-month break, so I’m definitely ready to get back.”
As owner of Bosco’s for the past nine years, Galvan said it was tough being away and that she missed the little things of being at the gym.
“It definitely shocked a lot of people and they had to change their routines,” Galvan said. “A lot of the members would come in two, three, four times a week at the same time. You get used to the routine and you get used to seeing people socializing, so losing that camaraderie and the normal definitely shocked a lot of people. People had to find a new way to work out.”
Galvan said it was very important to her that members have access to workouts while away from the gym.
“I had been posting workouts online so they had something to follow and we posted our yoga classes on Zoom,” Galvan said. “Normally, I do a class at the gym called lean and mean with body weight strength exercises. With yoga, we were doing two days a week on Zoom. The first class we had five people and then every one after that we had at least 10. It was a very good turnout. The members doing that class were over 60 so it’s good for them to keep in their routine and stretching their muscles.”
Communicating to her members was a top priority and she said they seemed to enjoy the video conferencing workouts.
“I definitely wanted all the members to keep Bosco’s in their mind and I love what I do at the gym,” Galvan said. “It’s not just a job I go to and even though I can’t go there, I still wanted to provide something for the members to let them know I care about them and their health. It just kind of gives them something to talk about and look forward to.”
Financially, Galvan had to do all she could to pinch pennies since March 20.
“Ultimately, we had no income coming in in April and from the building perspective, I had pretty much everything turned off as much as I could,” Galvan said. “I was just trying to save money and ultimately the members are who are paying dues, so I had to respect that money. I definitely had to go to the bank and let them know what was going on. Everything has been paid, but it will probably be a lasting effect.”
Galvan said the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce advised to plan for difficulties through September. In the meantime, she expects a rush of younger members in the next few weeks.
“I may even get some new memberships because they’re looking for something to do or they have been doing the workouts on Facebook so they want to come in,” Galvan said. “Because I have such a large population of over 60, they may not return to the gym until they feel it’s safe.”
As far as the safety protocols Galvan is instituting, she said she will play it by ear as the situation progresses. She also expects the returning members to be understanding of the new hygiene requirements.
Temporarily, the spin classes and Silver Sneaker classes will be put on hold due to social distancing rules and the limited amount of space available.
“I’m still in the process of figuring out exactly what I want to do,” Galvan said. “Prior to COVID-19, we have members clean the equipment as they use them and staff cleans three times a day and obviously that will be ramped up. My staff will clean contact surfaces like door handles, countertops and water fountains hourly. I’m purchasing more bottles to put the disinfectant in and placing them close to every machine.”
Bosco’s Gym has been in Gainesville since 1996 and Galvan said they pride themselves on being the local non-corporate gym.
“We’ve been here over 20 years,” Galvan said. “We’ve got a lot of longstanding members. It’s a friendly atmosphere. I’ve had a flood of text messages asking how I’m doing and how the business is doing. We call it the Bosco’s family. I think the majority of people are willing to fulfill the state and national guidelines.”
Per the governor’s guidelines for gyms reopening, gyms must train all employees on appropriate cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette along with screening employees before coming into the facilities.
Employees must also maintain at least 6 feet of separation from individuals with the recommendation that employees wear cloth face coverings. Workout equipment must also be spaced 6 feet apart.
Galvan said she thinks the gym will eventually get back to normal and that the gym is here to stay.
“I think the gym will recover,” Galvan said. “It may be six or 12 months down the line. We don’t know what else is coming. There is a ripple-down effect. Oil has been hit really hard and people may not be able to afford their memberships, but I do think we’ll be able to recover.”