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'We want to do it right, not necessarily first' | NC gyms now allowing more people inside, with caution

Even though gyms and fitness facilities can increase up to 75% capacity indoors and 100% capacity outdoors, masks and social distancing are still required.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Gyms and fitness facilities in North Carolina are now open up to 75% indoors and 100% outdoors under the state’s Executive Order that took effect March 26.

Masks and six-foot social distancing are still part of the requirements.

Orangetheory Fitness locations in the Charlotte market are staying at 50% capacity for now, said Jay Thomas, owner and area developer for Orangetheory Fitness in Western North Carolina.

RELATED: Here's which businesses in North Carolina can welcome more customers under the latest Executive Order

"Orangetheory is taking the approach we want to do it right, not necessarily first,” Thomas said. "So we're continuing to limit the class sizes and just maintain the high-level sanitation and wellness checks."

When Governor Cooper allowed fitness facilities to reopen in September 2020, Thomas said Orangetheory moved ahead with plans for a new location at Park Road Shopping Center. The location is expected to open on April 9.

The new studio incorporates several changes to specifically address challenges posed by the pandemic, Thomas said. This includes the addition of high technology Ultraviolet-c fans to disinfect and purify the air.

"They actually tested it in a lab in California and within 20 minutes, it killed 99.99% of the actual COVID virus,” Thomas told WCNC.

Thomas said plans are in the works to add the Ultraviolet-c fans to four other Charlotte studio locations in early April as well.

In addition to the new technology, Thomas said Orangetheory Fitness locations in the Charlotte market will continue social distancing, thorough cleaning, and wellness checks as the studios ease into the new guidelines allowed by the state.

"I can happily say since September when we reopened, we've not had one single case traced back to one of our studios,” Thomas added.

Planet Fitness locations can now increase up to 75% capacity under the new Executive Order.

"We're definitely excited about the capacity limits increasing,” said Jonah Brooks, regional manager for Planet Fitness.

Inside the Belmont location, signs are posted on every other machine marking off space for “social fitnessing” or social distancing, and Brooks said those aren’t going away yet.

“Regardless of how much the restrictions ease, we're going to make sure that we're doing what we need to do cause we're still in the midst of a pandemic,” Brooks added.

That means guests are still required to wear masks at the gym, cleaning stations are sticking around, and equipment is sanitized regularly.

"The sanitization walk-arounds every 20 minutes, sanitizing the high touch points, mask policy, all of that, we definitely make sure that as these restrictions lift that we're still being safe,” Brooks said.

As restrictions are eased and the number of people receiving the vaccine continues to go up, Brooks said Planet Fitness locations are starting to see more people stop in to break a sweat.

“We’re making sure that people can have peace of mind whenever they do come into the gym,” he added.

The current Executive Order in North Carolina expires April 30 at 5 p.m.