ALPHARETTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Several gyms in the Atlanta area are opening their doors for the first time since shutting down in response to the coronavirus pandemic. However, some gym patrons say it’s way too soon to allow folks back in.
Governor Brian Kemp’s Executive Order on April 20 allowing certain businesses like gyms and hair salons to re-open took effect today, April 24.
The Zoo Health Club in Alpharetta spent the day getting their gym ready to welcome customers back on Monday, April 27.
“We had a lot of other things going on as far as cleaning, painting, organizing equipment,” the club’s owner Barry Hogan said, in reference to why they’re opening on the next business day.
They remember when COVID-19 first brought all of their equipment, including those moving treadmills and bike pedals, to a crashing halt.
“[We had] a lot of members, our kids or our family here, so it was a very scary situation,” said Hogan.
He said he’s glad to get the ball back rolling.
“We immediately contacted the Zoo Health Club Corporation and talked to them about the guidelines and what we needed to do,” he said.
Not everyone is thrilled about gyms re-opening this soon. Personal trainer Elle Ross, the owner of B-FIT with Elle Fitness & Nutrition, said she contracts with a different local gym but won’t be going back just yet.
“I thought it was absurd, for one, that the first thing they would open are the non-essential locations vs. government locations or places that we actually need,” she said. “The gym is not something that we absolutely need. We can still work out in the comfort of our home or outside.”
Governor Kemp released a subsequent Executive Order on April 24, referencing additional guidelines for gyms to follow as they re-open, which include screening customers and staff members for fevers when they arrive and continuing to follow social distancing recommendations.
Hogan said he plans to follow all the mandates, making sure all equipment remains disinfected and sanitized. Management said they’ll even recommend their members wears masks and gloves.
Some say even that’s not enough.
“Even if people are wearing masks, I’m gonna be exposed, which puts me at risk, which puts my clients at risk, because no matter how much you wipe down a surface, there’s surfaces you’re not gonna be able to touch,” said Ross.
For those who still aren’t ready to return, some gyms are offering incentives.
“We are compassionate toward that for our members, so one of the things that we are doing is, if any of our members decides that they are not ready at this time, we will continue to freeze their account for up to 30 days,” Hogan said.
See above link for all of Governor Kemp’s mandates to reopen.