Georgia Gyms Approved to Re-Open Today, Many Owners Say It’s “Too Soon”
When President Trump distributed his guidelines for opening America back up again on April 16, gyms were specifically mentioned in phase one of the plan, giving the 6671 closed affiliates across the United States a glimmer of hope.
- Phase One: Specific Types of Employers — “GYMS can open if they adhere to strict physical distancing and sanitation protocols.”
Driving the news: While gyms located in other states are making initial preparations to open in the near future, Georiga takes center stage as Governor Kemp lifted restrictions on gyms and can begin reopening “with Minimum Basic Operations” as early as today. Affiliates have been closed for less than a month after a statewide shelter in place order was issued on April 2.
One big thing: CNBC reported on Tuesday that Beijing gyms were ordered closed again amid fears of a resurgence in coronavirus cases. What happens in Georgia to COVID-19 cases after some businesses reopen will affect the rest of the country as governors consider how to re-open their states.
Stat de jure: There are 237 CrossFit affiliates in the state of Georgia currently closed that are now legally able to re-open.
- Georgia also has the 11th most coronavirus-related deaths with 862, as of Thursday.
- We have yet to track a single Georgia-based affiliate that’s permanently closed in our closure survey.
The narrative: Despite the green light, several Georgia affiliate owners expressed that it’s still too soon and are setting their sights on early to mid-May for possible reopening. Comments have been circulating on Facebook groups and in comments as owners discuss the new policy direction across the state.
- Emily Bridgers of CrossFit Terminus: “We definitely feel like it’s too soon and are waiting at least a couple weeks to consider opening back up. May 11th will be the earliest re-opening date but we will continue to monitor the situation. Our coaching staff and many of our clients are not comfortable going back yet, and we do not want to further contribute to the spread of the virus until we see more of a downward trend.”
- Michael Michaelides of CrossFit Downtown Atlanta: “This was a shock to me, as well as it was to many of my members, and to our greater community, as it is very early based off the information we have on the spread of the virus…After thoughtful consideration, and an analysis of the facts we have at our disposal, we have made the decision to not open on Friday. Every expert with whom I have spoken has advised me that we are just not ready, and that the risk greatly outweighs the reward.”
- Hunter Thorton of Cumming Strength and Fitness: “We have not landed on an open day yet. Right now we are collecting all our equipment we loaned to members. Then will hire a professional sanitation company to do a cleaning with a Covid specific cleaner. We are ‘thinking’ next Wednesday or Friday (to open) but we have not committed to anything.”
- Erica Schlank of CrossFit Shocked: “It puts us in a very strange position having to decide whether or not to open our doors as soon as three days from now with cases still rising and nearly 800 deaths in the state. It’s brand new territory. Being put in a position as a business owner to decide what risk is worth taking is quite the situation since there’s risk everywhere. If you open and someone gets the virus you chance spreading it to your members and their families. If you remain closed you chance losing more memberships but potentially saving lives. It’s an obvious call, but I’m wondering why we have to make it.”
However, not all gyms are staying closed. Multiple gym owners plan to re-open Monday. Brandon Phillips, the owner of CrossFit Bound, said they are convening a staff meeting today to discuss the changes in operating procedure going into effect on Monday and outlined some of the changes going forward.
- Class sizes limited to 12 people.
- Everyone must reserve there spot for each class.
- Athletes must sanitize hands entering and leaving the facility and use sanitation wipes on each piece of equipment touched or used.
- Floors will be cleaned 2-3x per day.
- No childcare will be provided.