Phase one of reopening Virginia doesn’t include gyms, and some owners aren’t happy about it

You’ll have to wait longer before you can hit the gym in Virginia.

VIRGINIA, USA — Area malls and restaurants are reopening during Phase One today, but gyms weren’t given the green light to open their doors.

For gym owners like Whitney Duenas, it’s a disappointment.

Duenas is the owner of Barre by the Bay in Hampton. An extended closure means the outdoor and virtual workouts will have to continue.

“I 100 percent would open my doors again,” said Duenas.

Her gym is focused on serving people who are immunocompromised.

“Fitness is huge in our lives. With my immunocompromised system, at this point, sitting at home the last two months isn’t helping people with immunocompromised systems,” said Duenas.

The debate over whether or not close-contact businesses should reopen has sparked disagreement, but Duenas said people should have the option to go to a gym.

“I think there is but there’s a risk doing anything. You’re going to Home Depot with 100 other people,” said Duenas.

Ever since she closed her doors in early March, Duenas has taken her workouts to the beach.

She said the adjustment hasn’t been easy. Moving equipment and relocating her clients is a challenge. Memberships at her gym have declined by 77 percent since she closed.

Bill Meyer, the co-owner of Meyer Fitness in Norfolk, has managed to hold onto his clients through virtual one-on-one workouts.

“Some clients want to get back to in-person and we can adhere to a certain amount of that, but at the same time, it’s been our choice to stay home and stay virtual for a bit longer,” said Meyer.

Meyer is a part of the task force Governor Northam assigned to reopen Virginia. He said he was disappointed in learning gyms would not be able to open during phase one, but he has accepted they’ll have to stay closed for a little while longer.

“I know it’s affecting people. I’m aware of that, but at the same time, I’m a big fan of being able to choose how you live your life and choose the risk that you wanna take,” said Meyer.

Until they’re given the green light to reopen, gym owners will have to keep finding creative ways to help people stay active.

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