Gyms in Shelby County may be forced to close again

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – – Shelby County health officials are considering shutting down gyms again as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. The county has already decided Tuesday to shut down many bars.

“We’ve reached a pivotal point and we can either continue to try to flatten the curve or we can continue to trend upward,” Dr. Alisa Haushalter said. “There’s new research that does show that there’s transmission within gym facilities.”

Cathy Draper’s done everything she can to keep her staff and gym members safe. She runs Metabolic Crossfit on Madison and says she’s followed every health guideline in place since reopening.

Her class sizes are limited to 12, with each person working out in an individual area marked by blue tape on the ground. Nobody shares equipment and there are cleaning supplies at every station so athletes can sanitize the equipment they use before and after the workout.

“We’re doing everything we need to be in compliance,” Draper said.

Draper respects how serious the pandemic is but she lost a lot of income back in the spring when gyms were forced to close for roughly two months. She doesn’t want to go through that again and would prefer the county punish gyms that don’t follow the rules instead of shutting down all of them.

“I know it’s hard to get, to look at every single gym,” Draper said, “We’re a small business. You know, safety first but if we don’t have to close we shouldn’t close.”

She says it would be a disservice to her members who need to do more than jogging to stay in top shape.

“There’s not the same efficiency, frankly, to being able to do the resistance exercise and gymnastic moves and things that they can do here,” Draper said.

Whether or not gyms are forced to close again depends on the numbers. If health officials see a significant amount of transmission in gyms, they’ll be closed.

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