Orange County Badminton

The Orange County Badminton Club is now able to operate at 50% capacity after Orange County moved into the State of California's "Red" reopening tier. 

Sports was one of the first facets of society to feel the wrath of COVID-19. Even before schools shut down, the biggest leagues in the world fell like dominoes; the NBA, MLB and even MLS all followed suit. About seven months later, the world finds itself slowly easing back into our normal state.

Here in California, Governor Gavin Newsom upgraded Orange County to the second of four reopening tiers. Orange County would have been eligible for the third tier of the process on Sept. 29, but it did not keep positive test numbers low enough. This delay will further the timetable for the return to normalcy for an indefinite period.

In the meantime, local training facilities have adapted aggressively to stay alive.

“We were closed for most of the pandemic,” said Ryan Choo, vice president of the Orange County Badminton Club.

Like many small businesses, the OCBC benefited greatly from the most recent “substantial tier” promotion which requires businesses to hold a maximum 50% building capacity with adequate ventilation. Even before then, Choo and his team took preventative action to reduce the spread of the virus.

“Since June, we’ve implemented temperature checks, we’ve asked all of our members to wear masks while off of the court, and we limit the number of people on each court at one time,” he said. 

The OCBC is “not currently selling any new memberships, only current members can use the membership privileges,” Choo said. 

The rest, however, is all court rentals, so anyone can rent for an hour or more. All things considered, badminton could serve as a safe alternative exercise during these late stages of the pandemic.

Another trend that has really picked up popularity is the private gym industry. Facilities that work one-on-one with clients have been on the uptrend for years, the pandemic certainly helping that progression.

Because of regulations on the volume of people allowed in a certain area, private gyms have been able to capitalize on the flow heading away from bigger corporate gyms.

“We will still take new people in,” PerFit personal trainer Deirdre Bryant said.  “As long as there is a time slot available, and only a few people in the gym at a time.”

One of the reasons why trainers like Bryant are comfortable operating during the pandemic is because of the reduced number of clients in the gym at a time. With fewer people in the private gym setting, it is much easier to monitor who and what needs to be sanitized. 

“Luckily, because I work in a small gym and only work with one person at a time, we can social distance, wear masks and keep the gym clean,” Bryant said.

Since facilities outside the use of the organized sports on the OCC campus are currently closed, searching for different means of exercise might become a reality many students will face. Whether that be badminton at the local center, or more traditional workouts at one of the numerous private gyms, active people now deal with an unprecedented dilemma. 

“As long as everything is clean, safe and careful, clients can get their workouts in. It’s been pretty positive,” Bryant said. 

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