After meeting with officials of the governor’s office this week, representatives of Colorado’s gym and fitness industry say they are grateful that the state wants to help them survive new Level Red COVID-19 restrictions that further limit their operations, but they warn the new restrictions are unsustainable for their businesses long-term.
On Tuesday, Gov. Jared Polis announced that new restrictions for Level Red “Severe Risk” counties — including all eight counties in the Denver metro area — will go into effect on Friday. Gyms will be restricted to 10% of maximum occupancy, down from the 25% restrictions previously in effect.
Later that day, members of the Colorado Fitness Coalition met with representatives of the governor’s COVID-19 response team. The coalition was created in September to advocate for the industry in response to the pandemic.
“It’s a partnership that we’re committed to, the CFC and the governor and his team,” said Cory Brightwell, a member of the coalition’s advisory board and chief executive officer of Chuze Fitness, which has seven Colorado locations. “They have allowed us to stay open. Even though it’s at 10%, which is not really a survivable number for us, we appreciate that they’re at least listening and following the data and the science behind the fact that there has been little to zero spread of this virus inside of health club facilities. We’re disappointed at the 10%, but we also understand that Colorado is at an inflection point of really needing to slow the virus and slow the spread.”
Brightwell said the coalition will be working with state health officials to find ways to expand the occupancy restrictions beyond 10% by collaborating to formulate “additional safety protocols and certifications” governing safe operating procedures.
“We’re definitely not going to see anything change for at least 30 days, from what we’re hearing, but they are open to the conversation and exploring options,” Brightwell said. “It would need to be additional safety protocols, additional certifications and additional measures to show that we truly are doubling down on the additional safety protocols we’ve already been enforcing.
“We’re really hunkering down and doing what we can to survive, knowing the conversation is still happening as to how do we come out of this and how can we potentially get the 10% adjusted to allow us to be at a more survivable capacity level at Level Red,” Brightwell said.
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Coalition members also are hopeful that when the Colorado legislature meets in special session to provide financial relief for restaurants and other small businesses, gym and studio operators will be included.
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Source:: The Denver Post – Sports