Gyms have been sitting empty for five months since they were shut down by the state due to COVID-19. Now, owners are working together to bring back the workouts.
Thursday, Governor Cuomo sympathized with gym owners but said the locations are highly problematic when it comes to the coronavirus.
Still, the New York State Fitness Alliance has mapped out what it will take to workout in a gym safely again.
Gym owners and members alike are still waiting for that day.
Before COVID-19, Michele Martell spent every day working out at Athletic Apex Health Club in Penfield.
Martell says, since gyms closed indefinitely, her routine hasn’t been the same.
“It’s been rough. It’s been really rough physically, mentally, socially. This is a place where health-minded people come and socialize and interact. All around, it’s been a huge withdrawal,”said Martell.
Athletic Apex CEO Jeff Sanders is part of the Alliance that put reopening plans together for state approval.
Some of the guidelines include every piece of equipment getting spaced six feet apart and everyone inside wearing a mask, except when actually working out.
Sanders says these plans, if approved, would be the blueprint for fitness centers statewide.
“It’s a major financial strain for us. We’re doing everything we can to make sure we’re set up and prepped to reopen. When you don’t have usage and you don’t have revenue coming in, it’s not just the financial strain for us. It’s our employees and our staff,” said Sanders.
However, a spokesperson from Governor Cuomo’s office said in a statement: “Every public opinion survey has shown an overwhelming majority of New Yorkers support our reopening approach. We understand that some people aren’t happy, but better unhappy than sick or worse.”
Sanders says Athletic Apex has had to furlough all 75 of its employees at the Penfield location.
More than 5,000 members belong to the gym. Martell says she is hopeful gyms will reopen because she feels fitness is essential.
Athletic Apex is not affiliated with the class action lawsuit some gym owners are part of against the state, which is demanding the governor reopen gyms immediately.