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Gyms can reopen on May 18 with 25% occupancy, Gov. Greg Abbott says

While some gyms plan on opening their doors while following the safety guidelines, others are not so sure yet.

AUSTIN, Texas — Most workout classes lately have been filmed in front of a camera lens. But, soon, Central Texans can start breaking a sweat inside with some restrictions. 

Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Tuesday gyms will be among some of the types of businesses that can reopen on May 18, with restrictions. 

Gyms, exercise facilities and exercise classes may also open on May 18, but must operate at 25% occupancy. Locker rooms and shower facilities will remain closed, but restrooms may open, according to the state. Equipment must be disinfected before and after use, and customers should wear gloves and keep six feet of distancing while inside.

While some gyms plan on opening their doors while following the safety guidelines, others are not so sure yet. 

"We're excited to open. Health and safety is extremely important to us, so I feel the decision caught me off guard a little bit," said Jonathan Pisana, the owner and a trainer at Austin Art of Fitness, a personal training gym. 


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Pisana added he didn't think the rules for gyms would happen until later.

“I thought maybe it was going to be, maybe wait a little bit until we see how phase one goes. However, it was always our intention to leave it up to the client," said Pisana. "If they're not going to come in, I would support that."

Pisana said they've been doing virtual trainings online. Once they open up on May 18, the plan is to only have four people in the building at a time. 

“When the client comes in, we will have a station where we’ll have a thermometer so they can check their temperature – it’s a no-touch forehead," said Pisana.

Credit: Luis de Leon

At Pilates West, owner Robin Warnkin said she's still deciding whether to open, but has been discussing with her members about it. 

"We want to make sure, first and foremost, that the community is healthy," said Warnkin. "We have a cleaning process, we have sanitation, and then a disinfecting process."

Warnkin added she'll keep an eye on the COVID-19 case numbers, which could be a factor in whether she decides to open. 

"If they rise then there’s a chance that we might just not open that day," Warnkin said.

At 413 Fitness, a gym that specializes in workouts for people with movement disorders, owner Kristi Richards told KVUE on Tuesday they're still working on a plan to safely reopen, whether that is May 18 or a later date. In addition, they will continue to offer classes for those who are not comfortable with coming back anytime soon. 


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Gold's Gym sent KVUE a statement on Tuesday: 

“The health and safety of our team members and members has always been our top priority and it’s never been more important. We have created extensive sanitation, safety and social distancing protocols for our company-owned gyms and are in the process of receiving and reviewing the state’s reopening guidelines. Our goal is re-open our company-owned gyms in Texas on May 18, but only if we believe we can safely do so. We know our members are eager to get back to the gym and we look forward to welcoming them back as soon as it is safe to do so.”

– Adam Zeitsiff, Gold’s Gym president and CEO

Life Time also sent KVUE a statement on Tuesday: 

"We will open our clubs when we know the majority of our members have the confidence and peace of mind that Life Time will deliver the safest environments in our communities, just as we always have. Once we are satisfied that our members and team members feel safe, we will announce our reopening date.

"Life Time, in partnership with an epidemiologist and industrial hygienist, have been working through detailed plans and safety protocols that include enhanced and rigorous cleaning using EPA-registered products and the strategic use of Life Time’s vast square footage to allow for ample physical distancing. These protocols are available on our website at https://my.lifetime.life/safety."

Gov. Abbott's update states that people should continue to avoid visiting bars, massage establishments, tattoo studios, piercing studios, sexually-oriented businesses, or interactive amusement venues such as bowling alleys, video arcades, amusement parks, water parks or splash pads.


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