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Gym owners certain they can reopen safely despite state delaying June 1 reopening date due to coronavirus, COVID-19

Fitness centers will have to wait to fully reopen. The state delayed decision citing new studies about the transmission of coronavirus, COVID-19 in gym-like settings

MAINE, USA — Editor’s note: You've probably heard the term ‘flattening the curve’ as a way to stem the tide of coronavirus cases. The above video explains what that means. 

Starting June 1, which is phase 2 of Governor Mill's COVID-19 reopening plan, gyms and fitness centers were supposed to be able to fully reopen but the Mills administration changed that plan Tuesday.

Now many gym owners in Maine, who were working hard to reopen safely are left with a decision to open against the orders or not.

Foley's Fitness Center in Scarborough is a 28,000 square foot state of the art wellness center. 

It's owner Mike Foley's dream.

"We opened in December and in March we had 3,200 members," said Foley.

Things were going better than expected, until mid-March, when COVID-19 shut down Foley's business and so many others in Maine.

In May, fitness centers were allowed to partially open for personal training and outdoor classes. 

At the same time, Foley and other gym owners were getting set to fully reopen on June 1. according to the state's guidelines.

Credit: NCM

"We had a lot of plans in place."

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Plans to keep his members safe with temperature checks, hand sanitizer, cleaning, and spacing out equipment, but on Tuesday,  the State put everything on hold again because of new reports of a new outbreak in South Korea connected to people who took the same fitness dance classes.

Foley, who consulted doctors on how to reopen his gym safely, is frustrated.

"I know a lot of gym owners and I don't believe anyone of us was ever contacted as to what would be the best way to re-open a gym. We should all be able to present our case as to why we feel we should be open"

Paula Hatch agrees. She's the Business Operations Manager at All Around Fitness in Bangor.

Credit: Paula Hatch
All Around Fitness in Bangor

"We're seeing our memberships paused or canceled and we can't blame people."

Hatch says not everyone goes to group classes or can afford a personal trainer. They simply want to get back to the gym and workout on their own.

"It's frustrating on our end financially and economically but from a member's perspective, it's a wellness center. They want to get back for their overall health, well being, and mental health."

Hatch says she understands the severity of a global pandemic but knows fitness centers with the proper planning can reopen safely.

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Something owner Travis Adams says he'll do June 1.

"Travis decided he is going to open the doors and kind of roll with what consequences end up coming from that." 

Hatch said their members are supporting the Adams' decision to fully reopen on June 1.

As for Mike Foley, he'll wait for now but feels like the fitness industry doesn't have a voice and would like someone from the state to listen to what gym owners have to say. 

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At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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