Get Cronk'd staff L-R: Niel Judge, Becky Langstaff, Terry Nhem, Rebecca Cronk, Fraser Lance - Photo Credit: Debra Simpson

The staff at Get Cronk’d Fitness Studio in Kemptville are getting used to operating under the realities of the pandemic; but the uncertainty of what tomorrow may bring still weighs heavyily on their minds. Like all gyms and fitness centres in Ontario, Get Cronk’d was shut down from March until the end of June. Studio owner, Rebecca Cronk, opened up for outdoor classes on June 22, and then was able to welcome clients back into the studio about four weeks later. Even throughout the shutdown, Rebecca was working hard at making sure they were ready to welcome clients safely when the time finally arrived.

Since June, Rebecca has hired two more full time staff members, to create the consistency of always having someone in the studio during operating hours; but also to help with their rigorous cleaning regime after each class and personal training session. After class, each participant is expected to wipe down their station with sanitizing wipes, and then, when everyone is gone, Rebecca or one of the other staff members uses an electrostatic sprayer that covers all surfaces with a sanitizing mist. “Between every client, there is a hard reset of the space,” she says.

Rebecca has also rearranged the studio so that, even in group classes, participants are able to physically distance. Every client is required to fill out a questionnaire asking COVID-19-related questions, both online and when they arrive in the studio. Rebecca says they always kept track of who was in the studio and when; but, with the pandemic, she is extra vigilant to make sure everyone who comes to the studio stays safe. Masks are also required when clients are not in their designated workout space; however, some people prefer to wear them throughout the session.

“Everybody who has come back is super happy to be back and super happy with the protocols,” Rebecca says. “They feel very safe.”

It is clear that it takes a lot of planning and leg work to run a fitness studio during a pandemic. Rebecca is very thankful to her wonderful staff, who are willing to do whatever it takes to keep the studio up and running; no matter what. This includes offering some online personal training sessions for those who are still uncomfortable returning to the studio. Rebecca says that, should they get shut down again, they are looking at the possibility of moving even more of their offerings into a virtual space. “Hopefully, that won’t happen; it’s hard to say. It’s not like we can predict anything. The best we can do is try to figure out what we’re going to do if it happens.”

Rebecca says the nice thing about running a small fitness studio is that it is a much more controlled environment. “We know who is coming through the door. Generally, we know what they do for a living. We know their family. We know everybody on a more personal level.”

She encourages anyone who may be nervous about returning to a gym to book an appointment, so they can be shown the space and the safety measures they have in place. “If you’re hesitant, book a walk through. We’ll pick a time when it’s a little quieter in here. That way, you can see the new lay of the land and how it works.”

Get Cronk’d Fitness Studio is open six days a week, with three to four classes a day. Rebecca is happy to talk to anyone who is interested in coming in to discuss which of their offerings would work best for their personal fitness goals. “Everything is customizable, so we can figure out what works best for each client.”

The hardest thing about operating a business right now is not knowing what the future holds. Every time there is another government announcement, there is the constant worry of how its going to affect her business. “No matter what they say, it’s going to affect us somewhere along the way. Even if it’s just the fallout from one of their decisions. So it’s just a constant changing environment.”

The provincial government announced last week that gyms in Toronto, Ottawa, and Peel Region were mandated to close for a minimum of 28 days. This doesn’t affect Get Cronk’d, as they are outside of these major centres. Rebecca is thankful that, for now, they are able to continue to offer fitness classes and personal training to the North Grenville community. That being said, she still can’t wait for the day when they can do away with the mask for good. “I miss people smiling,” she says.


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