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Small gyms petition Gov. Beshear for permission to reopen in Phase I

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Posted at 3:44 PM, May 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-03 18:44:22-04

(WCPO/LEX 18) — Last week Governor Andy Beshear announced the plans for Phase 1 reopening of the state, but gyms were not included on that list.

Some small gym owners in northern Kentucky believe they should be allowed to reopen.

While they agree that large gyms may not be safe, they say smaller facilities are easier to keep clean and monitor the number of people inside, as well as social distancing.

"I'd like it to be considered separately from big-box gyms," said Kyle Stark, owner of Ft. Wright Crossfit. "They have thousands of members ... They don't have the operational flexibility to change what they do to be able to meet those guidelines. I feel like we're being unfairly lumped in with them."

Stark started a petition calling on the governor to give small gyms a chance to reopen.

Gov. Beshear has said that gyms may open during Phase 2, but has not yet given an estimate on when, exactly, that could roll out.

"We have 6,000 square feet," said Brian Weifering, owner of Wiefit. "So you'd never have more than two people in one room."

Weifering is one of more than 6,000 people who have signed Stark's petition. He said his reopening plan includes requiring everyone to wear face masks, constantly disinfecting equipment and taking customer's and employee's temperatures as soon as they walk in. For now though, there's nothing else to do but wait.

"It's tough," said Weifering. "I have bills to pay. They still want rent here. This can't go on for much longer."

Stark says he believes maintaining social distance within smaller gyms can be coordinated through laying out individual spaces for members to work in, and allowing no more than 10 people inside at one time.

"We can meet all the guidelines that are out currently," said Stark. "We can do that. And if there's something else we need to do, we're flexible."