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Local gyms getting creative to serve clients

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BENNINGTON — Local gyms and their owners have had to get creative over the past few days, figuring out ways to serve their clients while at the same time trying to follow guidelines set by local, state or federal officials and the Centers for Disease Control.

In Bennington, both Anytime Fitness and Revolution Fitness are open, for now.

"We are open, but only to members, there are no guest passes at this time," said Anytime Fitness owner AJ Mahar. "We're monitoring the number of people in the club, we have contracted with a professional cleaning company, in addition to our own cleaning."

Later on Friday, Mahar said that he was planning to close the physical gym location at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Mahar has been working to make many of the group classes — some of the most popular with its members — available online.

"On our Facebook page, we posted a link to the Les Mills virtual training and the classes, like Boot Camp, Body Pump," Mahar said. "All the classes we offer are available virtually. Anytime Fitness also has a workout app with video demos of exercises."

Leaders from other states, including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, have shut down fitness centers, but as of Friday, Vermont Governor Phil Scott had only set a rule to restrict groups of more than 50 people.

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"The first day that Massachusetts and New York closed, we had 14 people come for a day pass and all were turned away," Mahar said. "We're following the trend of other local business to make the decision to close until further notice."

Group classes at Anytime were suspended after Monday night and personal training sessions have also been suspended until further notice.

"We're following the Vermont governor and the CDC guidelines as those things unfold," Mahar said. "It's hour-to-hour at this point to make sure we're following the recommendations the best we can."

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Revolution Fitness, located in the Benmont Mill building, will switch its hours starting on Saturday. They will be open Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and also from 4 to 7 p.m., and closed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They'll also be open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon and closed on Sundays.

But for now, they are staying open.

"We feel our members are like family," said co-owner Sean Sherwin. "At a time like this, people need this more than ever to stay mentally and physically healthy. People need the outlet."

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The hours are changing because Sherwin said it doesn't make sense to be open the entire day.

"There are a lot fewer people coming, so we cut our hours for that reason," Sherwin said.

Sherwin said there is a private Facebook group for members to continue their workouts from home.

"We just started it yesterday, it's brand spanking new," Sherwin said. "Some of our instructors miss teaching the classes, so if they video or live stream it, we'll set it up for the members to do."

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The Manchester Gym on Airport Road closed on Monday, March 16, and will remain closed until at least April 1.

While the physical building is closed, owners Lia Taylor, Dan Colegrove and Dana Dussault have started a Facebook page for members with virtual workouts.


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