A gym in Northern Virginia has been forced to close since the beginning of the pandemic due to the social distancing rules. It should come as no surprise, either, since every other gym around the country is going through the same things. However, Unleash’d Strength Gym, located in Manassas Park, seems to be struggling to understand why they can’t open yet.
CDC is still calling for masks to be worn when a six-foot distance cannot be maintained. When people are in close proximity, such as when sharing gym equipment, a significant amount of handwashing or sanitizer needs to be used. It’s done as a way to protect the gym-goers and keep from spreading the coronavirus.
Virginia has already started to open things up. However, Northern Virginia is going to stay locked down a bit longer as a protective measure. It’s for everyone’s health and safety.
The owners of the gym, Joseph and Margaret Strada, are feeling frustrated because it could be the middle of June before they’re able to open. Frustrated doesn’t actually cover it. “Pissed” was the words uttered by Margaret Strada.
What’s the problem? Governor Ralph Northam doesn’t believe that Northern Virginia is ready to open based on speaking to some of the local leaders. Northam isn’t saying that he won’t open that part of the state up. He’s anxious and wants to help the economy return to normal. However, he also wants to ensure that there are sufficient prevention measures in place.
The gym owners, however, don’t understand why the narration is changing. They’re one of many businesses feeling the frustration. The problem is that the narration changes as more information is discovered. If after talking to local leaders, Northam finds out that they’re not ready to open, he has an obligation to keep things closed longer until they can get everything controlled.
The gym owners aren’t in a frenzy because of financial aspects, either. They’ve lost some of their members, but not many. According to the Washington Post’s report about the gym, most of the members have continued to pay their gym member dues, despite not being able to get into the gym.
So, what’s the problem? While it’s going to be nice to get back to normal, it has to take time. Plenty of people have been waiting for things to open up all over the country. Salons are just starting to open, and that doesn’t involve sweaty people sharing the same equipment. As schools come to a close, parents are anxious to find out about summer camps – only to learn that many camps are choosing to stay closed for the entire summer.
Normalcy is still a ways away. At least the gym has patrons that are willing to continue paying their bills. There are more important businesses that need to open up first. Otherwise, the patrons aren’t going to have a job to go to – and then, that’s when the gym will see a lot more memberships being canceled.
As one owner commented, it’s about the “community feel” of the gym. However, they could choose to get creative. Indoor gyms are still closed. Outdoor ones are not. If they wanted to create a community, they could organize an outdoor fitness lesson – but it’s easier for them to complain about not getting to open. They would rather open than allow the state to heal more sufficiently and not see an uptick on the number of COVID-19 cases.
A gym may be an “essential” part of the community, but it’s also one that involves close quarters. Plenty of businesses are just as eager to get back to work and open their doors. For the NoVa gym to say that they don’t get it is simply unacceptable. Meanwhile, they’ve created a petition to allow the fitness centers all across Northern Virginia to open for the sake of “mental and physical health.”
Good luck, but it all comes down to the safety of all, not just those who want to go into a gym after a few months of quarantine.