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LA Fitness delays plan to reopen in Georgia

Business Decatur Food Metro ATL Trending

LA Fitness delays plan to reopen in Georgia

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LA Fitness in Decatur's Suburban Plaza. Photo by Dena Mellick


Greater Decatur, GA – Gov. Brian Kemp this week gave gyms the OK to open today, April 24.

LA Fitness initially had plans to reopen on May 1. But late Thursday evening, the company decided against that idea.

In an email to patrons, LA Fitness said, “Our guidance on how we proceed throughout this pandemic is to do what is best for our members and our employees. So, although we had originally set a target date of May 1 for our first market reopening, specifically Georgia, we decided to hold off for now while we seek a greater consensus between the federal, state and local authorities on the proper path forward. Also, we have received many emails and phone calls from members and want you to know we are listening and taking what you say into consideration.

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“As soon as we see a clearer indication that the time is right, we will notify you of our plans to reopen. Rest assured, your membership will remain on a complimentary freeze – no billing (including billing for any personal training, HIIT by LAF and Kid’s Klub, if applicable) will occur until then. In the meantime, we will complete our club reconfiguration, which includes spacing equipment to respect social distancing and accommodate reduced capacity of around 30% initially. We also continue to implement new cleaning protocols, additional disinfectant and sanitization supplies and employee training to provide you with a setting in which you can safely return to your workout routine.”

Kemp said on April 20 that  “given the favorable data and enhanced testing,” gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers, cosmetologists, hair designers, nail care artists, estheticians, their respective schools, and massage therapists can reopen their doors on Friday, April 24. Theaters, private social clubs, and restaurant dine-in services will be allowed to reopen on Monday, April 27. Bars, nightclubs and live performance venues will remain closed.

Since that time he’s been issuing guidance to these businesses on how they might safely reopen for business. He previously released guidance for barbers and on April 23 released guidelines for restaurants that choose to reopen. Here’s the full list of rules restaurants must follow if they want to open their doors:

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– Screen and evaluate workers who exhibit signs of illness, such as a fever over 100-4 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, or shortness of breath;

– Require workers who exhibit signs of illness to not report to work or to seek medical attention. Per existing U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Code requirements, employees who are sick should remain If an employee becomes ill or presents signs of illness at work, the operator should identify the employee’s condition during a pre-work screening and send the employee home. Restaurants shall create, maintain, and follow established policies regarding when employees who have become ill are permitted to return to work. An employee with known or suspected COVID-19 must follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to self-isolate for at least seven (7) days after symptom onset and end isolation only after symptoms have improved and the employee has been fever-free and/or symptom-free for  three(3) consecutive days without medication before returning to work,

– Implement teleworking for all possible workers;

– Implement staggered shifts for all possible workers;

– Hold all meetings and conferences virtually, whenever possible;

– Train all employees on the importance and expectation of increased frequency of handwashing, the use of hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol, and provide clear instruction to avoid touching hands to face;

– Require all employees to wear face coverings at all Such coverings shall be cleaned or replaced daily;

– Discourage workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment;

– Where possible, stagger workstations to avoid employees standing adjacent to one another or next to each other. Where six (6) feet of separation is not possible, consider spacing options that include other mitigation efforts with increased frequency of cleaning and sanitizing surfaces;

– Prohibit handshaking   and   other   unnecessary   person-to-Establish limit numbers to reduce contact in employee breakrooms·person contact in the workplace;

– Enforce Social Distancing of non-cohabitating persons while present on such entity’s leased or owned property;

– Increase physical space between workers and patrons;

– Limit contact between wait staff and patrons;

– Discard all food items that are out of date;

– Discontinue use of salad bars and buffets;

– If providing a “grab and go” service, stock coolers to no more than minimum levels;

– Ensure the Food Safety Manager certification of the person in charge is up-to-date and provide food handler training  to refresh employees;

– Thoroughly detail, clean, and sanitize the entire facility prior to resuming dine-in services and continue to do so regularly, focussing such cleaning and sanitation on high contact areas that would be touched by employees and patrons;

– Between diners, clean and sanitize table condiments, digital ordering devices, check presenters, self-service areas, tabletops and commonly touched areas, and discarding single-use items;

– Use rolled silverware and eliminate table presets;

– Remove items from self-service drink, condiment, utensil, and tableware stations and have workers provide such items to patrons directly wherever practicable;

– The use of disposable paper menus is strongly encouraged, which should be discarded after each patron use. Otherwise, businesses subject to this Section shall clean and sanitize reusable menus between each use by a patron. Non-touch menus are also acceptable for

– Clean and sanitize restrooms regularly, check restrooms based on the frequency of use, and ensure adequate supply of soap and paper towels at all times;

– Implement procedures to increase cleaning and sanitizing frequency of surfaces in the back-of-house. Avoid all food contact surfaces when using disinfectants;

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– Check restrooms regularly and clean and sanitize based on frequency of use;

– Update floor plans for common dining areas, redesigning seating arrangements to ensure at least six (6) feet of separation from seating to seating. Utilize physical barriers on booth seating when available;

– Limit party size at tables to no more than six;

– Where practical, consider a reservations-only business model or call-ahead seating;

– Remind third-party delivery drivers and any suppliers of your internal distancing requirements;

– Post signage on entrances that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 is permitted in the facility;

– Where practicable, physical barriers such as partitions or Plexiglas at registers should be used;

– Use technological solutions where possible to reduce person­ to-person interaction: mobile ordering, mobile access to menus to plan in advance, text on arrival for seating, and contactless payment options;

– Provide hand sanitizer for use by patrons, including contactless hand sanitizing stations when available;

– Do not allow patrons to congregate in waiting areas or bar areas. Design a process to ensure patron separation while waiting to be seated that can include floor markings, outdoor distancing, or waiting in cars;

– If possible, use an exit from the facility separate from the entrance;

– Mark ingress/egress to and from restrooms to establish paths that mitigate proximity for patrons and staff;

– Where practicable, take-out and curbside pick-up services should be prioritized over dine-in services; and

– All restaurant or dining room playgrounds shall be closed

Many local restaurants have decided against reopening until there’s more evidence that the pandemic is subsiding. The Imperial in Decatur is one of them.

On April 23, Kitchen Manager A. J. Thompson sits below The Imperial’s response to Governor Brian Kemp’s go ahead for restaurants to resume dine-in service April, 27, 2020. Photo by Dean Hesse.

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