By Natasha Brown

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia gyms will be feeling the burn again but not the kind they would like. They must also close under the city’s tightening restrictions.

Gyms had just reopened in late July and one gym owner says they were just getting their stride back and now they are dealing with this devastating blow.

“It’s spreading a little bit everywhere,” said Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley.

The exponential spread of the coronavirus in Philadelphia in recent weeks is leading to another round of drastic shutdowns with gyms and fitness centers being no exception.

“We’ll also be closing gyms, museums and libraries,” Dr. Farley said.

Indoor workouts and gym visits will come to a halt on Nov. 20 and those facilities will be shuttered for a six-week period as part of the city’s plan to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“I know a number of gym owners are unhappy about the closure and I’m sympathetic to them. On the other hand, we do think a gym is a risk where people are indoors breathing hard, a lot of air going in and out. And to say, ‘we don’t know of a case in our studio,’ doesn’t mean there isn’t risk to that overall sector,” Dr. Farley said.

Planet Fitness is one of the largest fitness chains in the country with many facilities in Philadelphia.

Officials with the gym are upset that they’re being lumped into a category with restaurant and bar closures, saying their role in the community is vital, both physically and mentally.

“Obviously we’re extremely disappointed with the direction that Mayor Kenney and Dr. Farley went this down our industry again. We have done nothing but been a good and solid partner to the city,” said Stephen Kindler Jr., president and CEO of Planet Fitness Franchisee Group.

Planet Fitness says all 14 of their facilities in Philadelphia have been visited by health officials 20 times with no reported issues.


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