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Fitness facility operators in the Northeast prepared for a snowstorm that ended up bringing less snow than expected to most areas.
A passerby skis through an accumulation of snow on Jan. 27, 2015 in Central Park in New York City. Snow levels from winter storm Juno in New York have ranged from 7.8 inches in Central Park to more than 28 inches in Eastern Long Island. Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images.
On Monday night, operators of fitness facilities throughout the Northeast braced for a blizzard by closing early, sending employees home and cancelling programming. Some club operators woke to 20 inches of snow with more mounting through the day while others woke to much less.
The National Weather Service reported that toward the end of the day today, Framingham, MA, near Boston, had received 30 inches of snow. Boston-based Healthworks Fitness Centers for Women closed its facilities at 9 p.m. last night and remained closed today.
"The storm came as billed. It was a monster, dropping 2 to 3 feet," says Mark Harrington, owner of Healthworks Fitness. "It takes an act of god for us to close. We pride ourselves in getting open even if staffing is not ideal. In this situation, it was clear on Monday that it should be a direct hit. State of emergencies were announced early, which meant no public transportation or even driving was allowed. Our clubs in urban areas are generally accessible on foot by many members, but the Healthworks team is not always local. In this siutaion, we made an early decision in support of our staff's safety."
Harrington says the clubs will re-open tomorrow at 5:30 a.m.
"We'll have a line at the door, and business will quickly reutrn to normal," he says. "We'll have a lot of sore backs to deal with, including our own. Stretching out those aches and pains from shoveling will be the first order."
Six of the Longfellow Club locations in the Boston area were closed today but will reopen tomorrow, according to a note on the company's website.
In New York where snowfall totals were much less, many club operators prepared for a major weather event that turned out to be less than so. Clay Health Club and Spa, New York, closed about an hour-and-a-half early Monday night because the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority decided to stop running trains at 11 p.m., says Katheryn Martin, general manager of Clay Health Club and Spa. To ensure the safety of its employees, a skeleton crew of locals who live close to the facility continued working until 9:30 p.m.
With only 6 to 10 inches of snow in New York City Tuesday morning, however, the club never lost power and was able to send some employees who live near the club to open the facility on time at 5:30 a.m.
"We remained open because of our members," Martin says. "For the most part, a large majority live locally and are a short walking distance away."
She anticipates the revenue for the spa services and café will be affected because of slowed traffic, but the club is busy and receiving steady traffic today, she says.
Other clubs in the Northeast also are opening but modifying their schedules. Exhale Spa's New York locations were open Tuesday during different operating hours, Exhale Black Bay was closed and planned to open Wednesday, and Exhale Battery Wharf will be open for classes only.
"We want to best serve our guests," says Kim Kiernan, director of public relations for Exhale. "However, our number one priority is the safety of guests and associates."