Small gym owners seek guidance from DeWine on when they can reopen

Coronavirus

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — As Ohio continues to reopen, gyms remain in the dark as to when they can get back to business.

“The unknown is driving us nuts because we can’t even tell our members,” said Nick Osborne, the owner of GO: Fitness in Grandview and Italian Village.

Like most gyms across the state, Osborne is ready for whenever he can open his doors. The benches have been adjusted to be six feet apart. The machines already have that type of separation for safety measures.

But while all gyms are prepared to have those types of measures, Osborne said his gym in Grandview is different due to its smaller size at 8,500 square feet.

“Small gyms generally have more control over what happens in it. We have a better relationship with our members, we communicate a lot more with them,” he explained. “The type of gym that we are is a lot of direction, so we have coaches on the floor all the time and they, I don’t want to say police, but they can guide members to make sure things are happening the way that they should for the safety of the member and the staff.”

It’s all about the staff-to-member ratio.

“Having all the staff trained how to guide the members and keep them healthy is going to be one of the strengths of a small gym versus a larger gym. (A larger gym) might have 30,000 square feet and might have 500 people in there and four staff members, where here, we’ll have 7 staff members and only have 30-35 people in the building at one time,” he said.

The ability to monitor that with a small gym has Osborne and other small-gym owners feeling like they could open now. So they began a petition on Change.org to advocate their point of view and hopefully garner the attention of Governor Mike DeWine.

“I have nothing against a big gym,” Osborne said. “I understand and can sympathize with trying to keep the public healthy, but at the same time, there’s a whole other scope of healthy that you can have — mental, emotional, and physical — by having small, at least small gyms open, to serve their members.”

Osborne said it all comes back to his members and the community that has been built inside his GO: Fitness facilities. He has received feedback from his members that during this time, they’re really noticed how the gym has been their form of therapy, and right now, it’s hard not having that outlet.

“Getting the physical stress out which will then let them cope with the mental and emotional stress they are having in other ways,” Osborne said. “They would come in and get their stress out physically and then be able to handle the mental and emotional stress and that’s been taken away right now.”

More than anything, Osborne and his fellow small-gym owners want to hear a plan.

“My goal would be if the governor wants to give me a call and talk quickly about my ideas, but get some feedback from the small gyms on things they can do and then tell them they can implement them and then tell them a date,” he said. “Just give me an idea so I can tell my members in 30 days, in 15 days, next week, I could be ready to open. I think we are ready to open if the governor would let us.”

If you want to read the petition, go here: http://chng.it/9K5Jg9Yjqt.

Coronavirus in Ohio resources:

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