As coronavirus cases picked up with the onset of the winter, the Bridges Resort, a Warren-based health and tennis club, responded accordingly.
Plexiglass dividers appeared between the lobby and the front desk. Employees started temperature screening members and asking them to fill out contact tracing information with every visit. Recently, the resort installed an automatic door locking system which prevents people from entering the building until they are buzzed in by an employee.
The resort has also reduced its access to facilities, even for members. Exercise classes, locker room, saunas and the outdoor hot tub are no longer available. The pool is only available by appointment to Bridges Resort home owners, and like the gym, it can only be used by one person or family unit at a time.
This mass reduction happened in October when the resort offered non-home owners full refunds on their gym memberships. This worked out because, as Holzgruber noted, “A lot of those people weren’t interested in coming in at all.”
Moreover, the resort is not offering any day passes or holiday week passes. “Around Christmas time, we had a lot of calls from people asking for day passes, week passes and month-long passes. We had to say nope, nope, nope,” said Holzgruber.
Now, the only memberships that exist at the Bridges belong to home owners and tennis players. “We have about 100 home owners, and 66 tennis memberships,” said Holzgruber. “We are keeping membership way down.”
Holzgruber felt comfortable maintaining tennis memberships for existing tennis members, since the indoor court space is so spacious and has ample room for air circulation. The resort does not require players to wear masks on the tennis court.
While Holzgruber has received complaints about the resort’s strict approach to COVID, he hopes that he can make people happy by selling more tennis memberships over the summer, when the resort’s 12 outdoor courts are available.
A mile or so up the road at the Sugarbush Health and Recreation Center (SHARC) the fitness center is finding its pool popular while its gym is quiet, according to manager Pierce Kiniry.
Kiniry said the club had its busiest week of the season last week with the Presidents birthday week. The club is offering its pool by reservation to a household and its gym by reservation to a household or single occupant. Its squash, racquetball, climbing wall, fitness studio, saunas and steam room are closed. Families that come to use the pool are allowed to use one of the locker rooms and the room is cleaned afterwards with big micro static sprayers.
The club, which normally has 40 employees, currently has 10. Massages are available, but only for an hour and one person at a time which limits exposure for the therapist, Kiniry said. There are two spin classes offered each week and those take place on the tennis courts with the bikes 8 feet apart and participants wearing masks. Masks are required everywhere at the club except when people are swimming in the pool.
“When we first moved the spin bikes onto the court it felt really huge, but people have really liked it. We’ve got a handful of regulars who were hesitant at first but are now happy to have the option,” Kiniry said.
Unlike the Bridges, the SHARC is still selling memberships as well as fitness class cards.
“When we closed in the spring, we were closed for 100 days and all our existing members had their membership extended by 100 days. We’ve got our regular locals plus what we’re calling our new locals – second-home owners who’ve been here throughout the pandemic,” she said.
“We haven’t raised the prices and we’re still selling memberships. We sell them all the time. We decided to do that because we have a lot people who haven’t come back. And there are a lot of people here for the winter who are buying one-month memberships, sometimes for three months in a row while they wait and don’t know when they’re going back to their office job in NYC,” she added.