UFC Gym workers Kyle Hanzow and Shaylah Quejado checking in a gym member at the front desk. (Photo Credit by Cheri Smith).

By Cheri Smith | Staff Writer

The UFC Gym in Kaka‘ako opened this Monday at 8 a.m, since entering Tier 2 allowed new regulations for gyms to reopen once again on Oahu. Nearly 600 people made their way back to UFC Gym in Kakaʻako on opening day, though it looked different than before.

When entering the gym there are reminder signs to wear masks and to follow the community updates. Members are following the social distancing procedures and are cautious about wiping equipment once they are finished using it. 

“It feels really good to be back. Everything looks clean,” said Melissa Hirokawa, 28, Who has been awaiting for the gym to be reopened while consistently working out at home.

On Oct. 23, the City and County of Honolulu announced Tier 2 to take effect for gyms to reopen since the lockdown in early September. Tier 2 allows gatherings up to 5 people including parks, beaches, businesses, legal short-term vacation, and helicopter tours. Gyms are opened to a 25% capacity, and group fitness classes can resume only 5 people indoors and 10 outdoors. 

Within the first few hours of reopening, members either joined a high-intensity interval training bootcamp that — per the county’s rules — allows only five members at a time. While other members got back to their usual workout routines lifting weights or hitting the punching bags. 

“It’s been pretty steady, we have a person coming in every 15 minutes,” said Shaylah Quejado, a 25-year-old who works at the front desk. “It’s been a good transition so far.”

It took about two days to prepare for the reopening of the gym, the operations had the bulk of challenges. From finding staff and hiring replacements, contracting deep cleaner companies, restocking suppliers for food and supplements, new cleaning schedules and cleaning stations.

Pomai Brown who is a Performance Coach and Team Leader at Honolulu has worked for UFC Gym for the past 10 years.

“One of my biggest concerns are that clients have diminished their fitness goals due to this pandemic.” Brown said. “The gym’s clientele has decreased since the older members are fearful of catching the disease while younger demographic of people who are anxious to get out of the house.”

Due to the first gym shutdown on March, it was reported on KITV that UFC Gym Honolulu could be permanently shut down.

“In general, there’s a lot of misinformation and things that have been taken out of context especially in a social media era,” Brown said. 

“Being back in the gym, there’s social awkwardness now since we haven’t had any interpersonal communication with anyone in a while,” Brown said. “It has resulted in a lot of frustration and complaints from people who don’t know how to use their words from an emotional spot. With suicide and depression arising, note that brain and mental training is just as important as our bodies. A lot of the misinformation we are fed through social media, we should discern from opinion pieces. We need to become better stewards of our mental health .” 


  • Mask is mandatory

  • Bring your own towels and water bottles

  • Rewracking and cleaning equipment after use

Social Distancing:

  • Limited class schedule and sizes

  • Marks are visible on the floor

  • Distanced the boxing bags

  • Cardio equipments have spacers to distance members