State legislators call on Governor to reconsider closing gyms during ‘pause’
Starting next Monday, gyms in Rhode Island will be closed to the public as part of the state's two week pause to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE)- State legislators are asking the governor to reconsider her decision to close down gyms during the two week pause, pointing to the fact that there haven’t been any noted cases or outbreaks at gyms, and that working out has kept people going both physically and mentally throughout the pandemic.
Starting next Monday, gyms in Rhode Island will be closed to the public as part of the state’s two week pause to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
“I understand the pause and I understand the severity of the things that are happening,” said Representative Karen Alzate. “However, to close down the gyms – that’s been really helpful for so many people.”
Alzate says, she’s one of those people. She says it’s about more than improving her physical health, but mental health as well.
“I’ve been home since April – the gym to me has been a savior!” she said.
Representative Alzate is one of the lawmakers questioning the governor’s decision to shut down gyms, but she’s not alone.
Senator Thomas Paolino is a trainer at his local YMCA. He’ll be one of the employees affected in the pause. He says he’s concerned for the gym, as well as his clientele, many of whom are older.
“A lot of my clients, and other people that come there say that this is their one outlet during the day,” said Paolino. “And so, if they don’t go to the gym, their longest walk is usually to the mailbox.”
The legislators also noted that they are concerned gyms are being singled out despite the fact that there isn’t much data to back up the need to close them as a way to limit the virus.
“I can go into target tonight if I want, touch everything on the rack that’s already been touched by a hundred people, and that’s ok,” said Representative Julie Casimiro. “But I can’t go to a gym where we’re sanitizing our weights, we’re taking temperatures, we’re sanitizing our hands, we’re wearing masks, we’re even working out outdoors in 29 degree weather.”
ABC 6 reached out to the governor’s office for comment but did not hear back.
All of the legislators say that with several days before the pause goes into effect, they hope the governor will review this decision and allow gyms to remain open with more restrictions.