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Gym owners look for ways to open while staying within the law

Gyms closed due to coronavirus concerns

DETROIT – As restaurants continue to welcome back customers, gyms were set to do the same thing, that is until a last minute decision from a Federal Appeals Court. That decision struck down a ruling from a lower court and ordered gyms stay closed until the governor decides they can reopen.

READ: Appeals court: Michigan gyms, fitness center remain closed

John Houston Smith, with Grindtime Gym on Detroit’s west side said he takes his gym seriously.

“We created a concept called ‘Find your Why.’” Smith said. “We spray painted the letter ‘Y’ in the parking lot, 6 feet by 6 feet apart. So when people show up, they literally have to find their Y and workout on their Y.”

Smith said he planned on incorporating this concept with the grand reopening celebration. He was expecting to welcome back members Thursday, but those plans were canceled.

A federal judge ruled that indoor gyms could reopen Thursday, but that all changed Wednesday night when Gov. Whitmer’s motion was granted.

“We were a little disappointed that we couldn’t open up initially, but we got over it,” Smith said. “Because this ‘Find Your Why’ concept actually allows more space for our members.”

But not all gyms have the luxury to continue business outside. Ryan Hitsman and Brandon Pringle with Anytime Gym in Troy said they aren’t so lucky and need to stay closed.

“Extended closure was a bummer,” Pringle said. “My brother and I wanted to make sure we followed the protocols, and rules obviously.”

When asked if they agree with Whitmer’s decision, “I’ll say, I’ll agree to disagree,” answered Pringle.

“I totally agree with Governor Whitmer’s decision to keep everything closed because she has a different perspective than we have,' said Smith.

The Attorney General office released this statement:

We empathize with business owners and understand that many people are anxious to return to their normal exercise routines, but the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision accurately takes into consideration the risk involved in reopening gymnasiums and fitness centers too soon. Michigan has come a long way in flattening the curve of COVID-19 cases, and the rising infection rates seen right now in other states is an alarming reminder of what could happen here if we act on impulse instead of science and the advice provided by medical experts. Under the Court’s decision, gymnasiums should remain closed. Facilities that remain open may be subject to misdemeanor penalties. We trust our partners in law enforcement throughout the state to make those gym owners in violation aware of the required closure and to use their discretion and authority in dealing with any violations that are reported.


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