By David Fleet
Groveland Twp.-Wednesday morning Brian Dunaway was ready to reopen.
Dunaway, owner of Anytime Fitness, 250 N. Ortonville Road is on the cusp of opening his business following a six month shut down due to the coronavirus.
On Sept. 3, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a pair of executive orders to allowed gyms and pools to reopen and organized sports to resume statewide under new guidance issues by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Fitness centers like Anytime Fitness opened on Wednesday at a maximum of 25 percent capacity. Attendees must be able to maintain 6 feet of physical distance, including in classes, and wear masks at all times, even while working out.
“We’ve always kept a very clean facility,” said Dunaway. “We’ve added extra protocol. We assure that everyone who comes into our gym takes the side of caution. Especially with the flu season coming up.”
The Wednesday reopening is the second time since the state shutdown for the coronavirus pandemic.
In June, a Michigan lower court declared Whitmer’s order closing gyms in southern Michigan because of COVID-19 should be lifted June 25. Just hours before gyms were to reopen three Republican-appointed judges sided with the governor’s broad latitude and closed the facilities prior to they opened.
“The governor will continue to take the actions necessary to save lives,” said Press Secretary Tiffany Brown of Gov. Gretchen Whiter’s office.
Now three months later the doors of gyms will open.
“We are pretty spread out here,” said Dunaway. “COVID attacks weaker immune systems, the stronger you are the better. The closing of gyms was one of worst things you could have done, if the spread is controlled we should be open. I’d like to see gyms staying open and keep people healthy. Many people today are working at home, sitting on the couch, it’s a stressful time. Come to the gym and take your frustrations out here, everyday life was stressful even before COVID.”
Additionally, all visitors must provide their name and phone number at check-in to aid with contact tracing. Equipment-cleaning products and hand sanitizer must be provided, and exercise equipment must be regularly disinfected.
Josh Bearss, opened Bearss Fitness, 4 N Ortonville Road, in December 2019. Just a few months later they were closed by the executive order.
“March 16, that was our last day,” said Bearss. “We shut down, but continued workouts via Zoom each day, we did the best we could.”
Bearss continued with outdoor workouts and kept people engaged with a variety of challenges to keep their health up.
“It’s been just crazy during 2020,” he said. “It’s been just one week shy of six months since the shut down and we need to get back in an exercise routine to combat depression and mental fatigue. Fitness helps keep our vessel running efficiently, we can’t always rely on medications to overcome.”