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‘Breath of fresh air:’ Some normalcy returns as gyms adopt new mask guidance

The owner of Athletic Form in Seattle's SODO neighborhood says about 70% of his members decided to disclose their vaccination status.

SEATTLE — Gyms are bouncing back after months of ups and downs and changing COVID-19 restrictions. 

The owner of Athletic Form in Seattle's SODO neighborhood says about 70% of his members decided to disclose their vaccination status, with most of his members eager to get back to their normal gym routines safely.

Athletic Form and other gyms are making the switch to CDC-recommended guidance for indoor mask use, which allows fully vaccinated people to ditch masks indoors.

Just walking in and heading to the weight room is a thing of the past, at least, for the time being.

"All we ask is that they show us their card," said Robel Woldu, founder of Athletic Form. "We notate that in the system, and every time they come in it’ll just flag as they’re someone that’s vaccinated, and it's validated in terms of them being able to not have to wear their mask."

After getting vaccinated himself, Woldu announced the gym's new rules in order to incentivize more people to take the necessary steps in order to help the entire community move toward some sort of normalcy. 

"People feel this breath of fresh of air. They’re able to do something that hasn’t been part of the norm as of late,” Woldu said.

With the adjusted mask rules and increased vaccinations, business is booming.

"We’ve seen our classes grow. We’ve seen the community that comes to these classes feel more comfortable,” Woldu said.

But not everyone is ready to go maskless, just yet.

Gym member Pagalavan Thavarajah says he still plans to work out with a mask, vaccinated or not. 

Woldu says there are members who still plan to work out with a mask. In the end, he wants the gym community at large to feel safe and comfortable.

"We don’t want to come from a judgmental standpoint, we just want to do what’s right for our community,” Woldu said.