PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There’s frustration among gym owners who were set to reopen but now face more delays. One Philadelphia gym owner says he made significant investments in safety and wants more communication from city officials.
Philadelphia’s move to a restrictive green phase has left many gym owners in the dust.
They believe they can sanitize and control their environments better than other facilities like casinos and shopping malls that are set to open Friday.
“When I have gone to supermarkets, when I have gone to stores like Target, there’s no social distancing when you’re walking down those aisles. You’re within six feet of people just because the aisles aren’t that wide,” said Dave Garonzik, owner of Open Box Athletics.
Garonzik is one of the owners of Open Box Athletics in South Philly.
He says they’ve spent thousands of dollars preparing their gym to open Friday, but are now delayed until potentially Aug. 1.
They’ve managing class sizes, scheduling sanitation and creating pods for people to work out in.
“And what we’ve done is take it center to center that’s in excess of that six foot social distancing and expanded it to about nine feet,” Garonzik said. “We’re all hurting. We’re all small business owners, we all have families to feed.”
“There is evidence that when people engage in vigorous physical activity, they’re breathing more, they’re more likely to put out droplets,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said. “And also people involved in vigorous physical activity are uncomfortable wearing masks, and so it makes it a risky situation.”
Garonzik says there’s been no communication at all between government or the health department with gym owners.
They’ve gotten by to this point with outdoor classes, but he takes issue with not being considered an essential business.
“From the perspective of gyms, we provide a health service to people. We provide health care to people. And for many people, coming to the gym is their mental health care,” Garonzik said.