As the country moved into the latest phase of reopening this week, the fitness industry was among those that kicked back into gear.
It saw gyms and fitness clubs allowed to reopen their doors having been shut since lockdown measures were introduced, with Hustle Fitness in Ennis being one of those.
The gym opened in September 2017, and manager Declan Ensko has been there since that first day.
The Ennis native admits it was a difficult move having to lock the doors with an uncertain future ahead when the Covid-19 crisis struck.
“It was very tough to make the decision to close. We had thought about doing a few days previously but then we had our hands tied and it was the only thing we could do. It was a tough time initially but once the roadmap came that we knew when we could reopen, it made it somewhat easier. The first few weeks, we did not know if the Covid payment would be enough but as it turned out it was great to have that. The staff were very worried for the first few weeks, as everyone was in every industry really. There are a lot of guys with us that are students so it was a big change and even moreso for our full-time staff so it was tough” he outlined.
The doors reopened on Monday morning and Enkso explained that it was a very positive start to the week.
“It has been incredible, I cannot get over it. Our staff have been brilliant in helping us get ready for the last few weeks and donating their time to do that. Seeing so many people come through the door today and being so comfortable has made it all worthwhile. It was great that we had that support all along. We would like to think that the hump has been broken now so we can hopefully get back going again and get back on plan” he said.
Some of the measures introduced has seen the development of an online booking system along with strict hygiene protocols. These include hand sanitiser at the entrance to the gym along with various Covid-19 stations throughout the building. Ensko says everyone has been engaging with them and feels the new systems in place will make for a more streamlined service.
“All the changes are positive and it is all going to make people feel safer and comfortable so it is worth doing. There is a real difference in it. Even for classes it is a whole lot easier and we found all these systems that we would never have used other than this happening. It has provided us with a perspective on how to use technology and it has a greater benefit for taking bookings and that type of thing. It has made a really positive difference for us. We paused all our memberships so no one lost out on any time and some members had paused prior to the lockdown measures. We have kick-started those again now and memberships were reactivated from the day we closed so everyone has got what they paid for. I think a lot of people were quick to come back because their memberships were still intact. We try to make it as much of a family and community feel to the place as we can so it is just a case of standing there with a smile and thanking them for coming in the door so hopefully it will continue to grow as the weeks go on” he concluded.