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Fitness centers ease into reopening as some restrictions are lifted

(KCRG)
Published: May. 7, 2020 at 6:19 PM CDT
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Andrea Hall is the owner of Be Strong Fitness and Yoga in Monticello. She says after reopening her business, about a quarter of her clients are back in the gym. She reopened after Governor Kim Reynolds eased restrictions in 77 counties, Jones county being one of them.

“I didn’t want to be allowed to open, we weren’t expecting that," Hall said.

In Jones County, fitness centers can operate at 50% capacity and with machinery spread apart. Hall says she was hesitant to reopen at first, but serving as an opportunity to help people’s mental health was the main factor in her decision.

“They were losing that ability to get their endorphins up to feel good, to get out and move," Hall said. "A way of reopening is that we're able to offer that again to the people that we're comfortable and ready.”

Governor Reynolds released an updated proclamation on Wednesday that further eased restrictions in 22 counties that had previously been ordered to keep these businesses closed. The proclamation says that fitness centers are allowed to admit one person on appointment base only, frustrating one yoga studio in Johnson County.

“The cost of having the lights on for one person, running our heat system, it's just not doable," said HeatYoga owner Beth McClelland.

McClelland says she is happy some gyms, who work one on one with people frequently, have the opportunity to open their doors. However, HeatYoga sent a message to their clients saying they will remain closed despite the capability to reopen.

“It's really not the majority of the industry that works that way," McClelland said. "To me, it doesn’t make sense to have that restriction but then open malls to 50% capacity.”

McClelland says reopening with these restrictions is not financially feasible and her biggest concern is how this will affect her employees.

"Because we’ve been given the green light to open, I don't know whether my employees will be able to still claim unemployment," McClelland said. "Because I’m not opening but the state says we can open.”