Gyms, fitness centers can reopen next week | News

Gyms, fitness centers can reopen next week | News

Gyms and fitness centers can reopen next week at a limited capacity, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Thursday.

Under the latest executive order, gyms and pools can reopen at a 25 percent capacity starting Wednesday with strict protocols in place. Among the restrictions includes wearing masks at all times and maintaining six feet between workout stations and individuals participating in classes.

“Throughout this pandemic, we have followed the best science and data available to make decisions that will keep Michiganders safe, and our hard work is paying off,” Whitmer said in a news release. “…I urge everyone who plans to hit the gym after these orders go into effect to take these precautions seriously and do everything in their power to protect themselves and their families.”

An added caveat to the restrictions is that gym attendees must provide their name and phone number.

Whitmer’s administration has hinted at reopening gyms and other businesses for the past few weeks.

Gym owners have questioned the governor’s decision, while some opened in defiance of the previous executive orders.

Nick LaFond, owner of Anytime Fitness in St. Joseph, said he’s thrilled by the announcement but that the timing is interesting.

“The good news is she finally did this. I honestly expected it to be next year. So, I’m glad it came sooner rather than later,” LaFond said. “I was preparing for this back in April. I’ve been in here every single morning preparing.”

LaFond has already installed several sanitizing stations, added sanitary wipes and has kept up with deep cleans on the equipment. Prior to the statewide shutdown in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, LaFond said his gym was already focused on cleanliness.

As for the new restrictions that come with reopening next Wednesday, LaFond said he intends to review everything in the latest executive order.

“We are a gym of only adults,” LaFond said. “We are six months into this pandemic. People have been masking up at restaurants and grocery stores. I trust all the adults will adhere to the new protocols seriously.”

Sarah Lancaster, general manager for South Shore Health & Racquet Club, said there was excitement throughout the St. Joseph facility Thursday when word began to spread that gyms could reopen next week.

She said they already have their members contact information when they check in, so the fitness center should be able to open under the new restrictions.

“We’re definitely excited. We’re just happy to see all of our members back,” Lancaster said. “We’re going to continue to utilize the nice weather and hold our group fitness classes outdoors.”

Bowling and ice rinks may also open next week, but they can only do so for organized sports, according to the order.

Owners of Peat’s Cider Social, which closed the bowling alley portion of its business after buying the former Lakeshore Lanes in Bridgman, announced on social media that it would look into whether they would open up the lanes.

“We are taking some time to digest and fully understand the executive order,” the business stated in a Facebook post. “When we feel confident about the process and safety of our customers, and that we are following the guidelines outlined in the latest order, we will open bowling. We want to bowl just as much as you do and will continue to update you as we know more.”

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