One of the cruel ironies of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the closure of gyms when we most need to relieve stress, stay fit and connect with others.
And then there are literal costs for gym owners like Joe Goldberg, owner of TruFusion STL on the West Campus of Washington University in St. Louis. Facing financial devastation, Goldberg conceived a solution as bold as it was simple — move TruFusion’s yoga, cycling, bootcamps and other classes from its ground-floor studio to the university’s open-air garage. The university immediately approved Goldberg’s proposal and helped him execute the plan.
“I was not expecting the university to be as accommodating, but everyone stepped up to help us survive,” said Goldberg, which started offering open-air and other classes on June 15. “Our members have been so grateful to have a place where they can finally come together.”
The classes are located on the top levels of the garage and the roof, space that is currently unused while university staff continue to work remotely. TruFusion has installed sanitation stations and implemented numerous safety protocols, including temperature checks and social distancing.
Rachel Siegert, assistant director for real estate, said the university is finding innovative ways to support commercial tenants such as TruFusion.
“We’re working with businesses to help them find grants and to connect them to small business resources they may not know about,” Siegert said. “We’re all in this together and want to do what we can to help local businesses.”
Siegert also is a TruFusion member and has observed the positive response to the open-air classes. Non-members also may register for classes in advance.
“The camaraderie and energy level are so high,” said Siegert, who takes boxing and kettlebell classes. “We’re all excited to have a little bit of normal back in our lives.”