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Gold’s Gym to reopen Friday in Albemarle

After several months of being closed, Gold’s Gym in Albemarle is set to reopen again Friday.

Owner Ben Newport cited a loophole in North Carolina’s Phase 2 guidelines, which states that gym’s and other fitness facilities can open their indoor areas to serve people “prescribed or directed to use those facilities by a medical or health care professional,” according to recent guidance from the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.

Newport said that he is not allowed to ask people about their specific medical issues nor do they have to disclose the information when they come into the gym.

Several other Gold’s Gym locations have already opened. With Gov. Roy Cooper giving schools the guidance to reopen with some in-person instruction, Newport felt it was time he reopened the gym. He said he consulted with his lawyer and law enforcement before making the decision.

He said people in the community had been talking to him for months, asking when the gym would reopen.

“It became very obvious to me that gyms were an important part of our day-to-day physical health and mental health,” Newport said.

A letter was sent to members a few days ago, Newport said, informing them about the decision to reopen and letting them know that they had the option to freeze or even cancel their accounts.

“We’re going about this the best way possible,” Newport said.

Gyms need to operate in compliance with NCDHHS Guidance on Indoor Exercise Facilities, Indoor Fitness Facilities and Gyms, which outlines a detailed list of requirements and recommendations. Per the guidance, Gold’s Gym posted the maximum occupancy — only 125 people can be inside at one time — on its door along with signs reminding people to stay six feet apart.

The staff has been busy cleaning and spacing out the equipment — treadmills are now 10 feet apart — in preparation of the reopening. Newport said the gym has also doubled its number of sanitation stations.

Employees will wear face coverings and people will have to wear coverings at all times except when they are actively working out.

Each member will also receive their own personal spray bottle, which will be cleaned once they leave.

Members, who won’t be billed until Aug. 1, will still have 24-hour access to the gym, which will allow for people to come to the gym at slower times in the day, which will help decrease the likelihood of large crowds, Newport said.

Though the entire gym will be open, there will not initially be childcare services or workout classes due to social distancing concerns.

Staff will be cleaning the equipment and high-touch surface areas throughout the day and will increase disinfection during peak times, Newport said. All shared equipment will be disinfected between users.

The gym has also received some financial assistance through a PPP loan, which has helped keep it afloat during the past few months, while the staff has received assistance through stimulus checks.

Gold’s Gym has been remodeled since it first closed in March due to recent flooding that occurred.

“Honestly we are cleaner than any business in Stanly County right now,” Newport said.

 

 

 

 

 

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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