Small fitness centers push to reopen in Phase 1
WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) – Governor Gina Raimondo extended her executive order closing gyms, fitness centers, and yoga studios until May 22.
Some smaller fitness centers were hoping to reopen in Phase 1 of the governor’s phased reopening plan for the economy.
“Since the day we closed we have been strategizing and planning to reopen,” said Julie Mckenna Alavian, co-owner of Burn Boot Camp in Warwick.
Burn Boot Camp is a boutique gym. It operates differently than large chain gyms, and for that reason, Mckenna Alavian wants her gym to be treated differently when it comes to reopening.
“It has been our goal since we closed for the governor to carve out a distinction between the smaller boutique fitness studios from the larger big box gyms,” said Mckenna Alavian.
Mckenna Alavian created a comprehensive safety plan for reopening her gym and sent it to the governor, asking to reopen in phase 1.
“Group fitness classes would be limited to 9 or 10 members with 1 instructor. Members would sign up in advance, have their temperatures taken prior to entry into the facility, and be allowed to enter only 5-10 minutes prior to the start of class,” Mckenna Alavian wrote in her letter to the governor.
She also plans on creating 6′ X 6′ square markings on the floor to designate where each member can workout. She said each square, along with any equipment used, will be sanitized immediately after a workout.
“We have employed Cintas to provide specialized sanitizing spay, which targets Covid-2, which is the virus that causes Covid-19,” wrote Mckenna Alavian.
She also sent a copy of the letter to her state representative, Joe McNamara (D-District 19), who is now pushing for Burn Boot Camp to reopen in Phase 1.
“I presented their plan to the Rhode Island Department of Health COVID task force as a role model for the phase in of fitness centers,” said McNamara.
He thinks smaller gyms with a safe plan in place should be able to reopen sooner than larger gyms.
“All fitness centers are not created equal. This isn’t like an LA Fitness or a ‘judgment free zone,'” said McNamara.
The Department of Health is now considering Burn Boot Camp’s reopening plan.
On Thursday, the Governor announced her team is looking into creating a distinction between different sized fitness centers so they can open at different times.
“We’re trying to figure it out. I don’t have something to tell you now. As of Phase 1, they’re still closed,” said Raimondo.