Local gym owners frustrated over not being able to open

Local News

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Beaches, restaurants, barbershops, hair and nail salons are all open in Florida, but gyms are still closed.

“People can go out at a restaurant, eat dinner, drink on the beach with their friends, they can go shopping, but you can’t go to the gym and bust a sweat which is both mentally and physically healthy for you,” PUSH Athletics Owner Savannah Redding said.

Gyms were not included in phase one of Governor Ron DeSantis’ plan to reopen the state, leaving many local gym owners confused on why there were not able to open their doors.

“With the gym being closed, it almost seems like we don’t fall into that category of essential, but I really disagree with that,” The Sweat Shak Co-owner Megan Morse said. “It’s really important we keep our body strong so that we can fight viruses.”

The governor is including gyms in phase two of reopening, but with certain guidelines. They will be limited to a 75 percent capacity and have strict social distancing and sanitation protocols.

However, gym owners in Bay County said they have been following these guidelines even before the shutdown.

“Our classes are very small groups, we have maybe six, eight, maybe eight people in a class at a time,” Morse said. “Our largest class is in the group room and we have less than 20 people.”

The owners of The Sweat Shak and PUSH Athletics said many of their clients would rather be in the gym than working out at home.

“That’s why people go to the gym. They go for the coaching, the knowledge and the community to cheer them on,” Redding said. “To say it’s the same to workout out home and to workout at a gym, it’s not.”

Governor DeSantis has not given an exact time frame on when phase two will start, but these owners hope to get the okay to open up their doors before that.

“The virus is a scary thing, but I also feel like if we don’t take care of ourselves in the long run that can be even scarier,” Morse said.

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