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

Posted at 9:57 PM, May 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-03 10:39:28-04

On Wednesday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced his plans for Phase 1 of reopening the state, including which businesses are allowed to open. Gyms are not on that list, but several small gyms in Northern Kentucky believe they should be.

While they agree large gyms may not be safe to open, the owners of small gyms in the area believe they can keep their space safe enough to open during Phase 1.

"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 in support of other small gyms like his, arguing that smaller facilities are able to limit the number of people inside at one time. Gov. Beshear has said that gyms may open during Phase 2 of his reopen plan, 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 and employees' temperatures as soon as they walk in. But for now, 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."

In the meantime, Stark said he believes maintaining social distance within smaller gyms can be coordinated through reorganizing facilities to create 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."

Beshear has said that his teams are monitoring how the coronavirus "reacts to changing temperatures" to determine how the Phase 2 roll-outs should proceed.