After a six-month closure due to COVID-19 concerns, the Downtown Fitness Loop has re-opened, enabling exercise enthusiasts to partake of its varied scenery and opportunities to work out for free on a variety of sturdy, high-quality fitness equipment.

The Loop, which opened in July of 2016, was the brainchild of then-Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal. “The original vision for the Downtown Fitness Loop was to provide a scenic exercise track for residents, visitors, and tourists connecting varied landscapes and landmarks in Downtown Long Beach,” said Broc Coward, DLBA’s Chief Operating Officer, who was Lowenthal’s Chief of Staff from 2006 through 2016. “The Loop enables people to take advantage of Downtown topography and the built environment, and to work out on passive and active exercise stations along the way.”

The 4.8 mile Loop links open spaces such as Victory and Santa Cruz Parks, Rainbow Lagoon, the Waterfront Esplanade, Pine Avenue Pier, Aquarium of the Pacific, and Shoreline Aquatic Park.

Traversing Alamitos Avenue, East Shoreline Drive, Aquarium Road, West Shoreline Drive, and Ocean Boulevard, the Downtown Fitness Loop is “one of the high-use elements in our city. It’s a valuable resource for our community” said Todd Leland, Supervisor of Operations for the Long Beach Marine Bureau. The bureau, a division of the Long Beach Parks, Recreation, and Marine Department, oversees operational control and maintenance of the Fitness Loop and its exercise equipment, which was purchased by the City from the Anaheim-based company Greenfield Fitness.

The Fitness Loop was shut down in March on State orders that all public playgrounds and fitness equipment must close due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the closure, the Marine Bureau continued to maintain the 11 exercise stations while standing by for the re-open order. The Marine Bureau re-opened the Fitness Loop on October 5, and updated the exercise stations with signage on each apparatus imploring fitness enthusiasts to follow basic COVID-19 safety protocols: wash hands, wear a mask, and maintain social distancing. “We’re betting on people to do the right thing,” said Leland.

As athletes return to the Fitness Loop, the Marine Bureau will continue its daily monitoring of the fitness stations, and will maintain the function and cleanliness of the equipment on a regular basis. Future closures depend on two key indicators: COVID-19 positivity rates, and COVID cases per 100,000 people. “As long as we maintain certain numbers based on the California color code tier system, we don’t foresee closures, but this is a global pandemic and the health of the community is the number one priority. Based on numbers, it’s a day to day, week to week, month to month decision,” said Leland.

Meanwhile, local and visiting fitness buffs will be seen once again on the Fitness Loop every day from dawn ’til dusk, keeping themselves ready for all challenges that lie ahead, and being in top shape for the time when a greater sense of normalcy returns to Downtown Long Beach.