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DC gyms, fitness centers pushing to reopen without restrictions

Local gyms don't want reopening restrictions placed on restaurants and bars.

WASHINGTON — Even though Maryland and Virginia have moved on, the District is staying put in Phase 2 of reopening; putting limits on gatherings and some businesses. 

Gyms and boutique fitness facilities are now fighting to reopen in full. They believe their facilities shouldn’t have the same restrictions as bars and restaurants.

Metro area gyms said they’re using contact tracing to help curve the spread of the virus while still offering a safe way for their clients to exercise.

“We have the ability to contact trace the reported cases, better than any industry I know of,” said Bahram Akradi of Life Time.

The weights of restrictions are getting heavy for these gym owners. Akradi believes it’s time to plunge into the full reopening of fitness centers. 

“We have apps so you choose which class you're going to go to. If you're going to go to yoga, you're going to go to TCX, or you're going to go to spin class, and you pick the mat or the bike that you're on your app. So not only do I know where you're going in the club, I know who else was around you during that time you were there,” said Akradi.

Akradi said contact tracing has kept its members safe. Across their nationwide facilities, of the 11 million people who’ve returned to their centers, they said less than 300 cases of coronavirus have been traced back to their gyms.

It’s a similar method used at Petworth Fitness. Their class-style workouts created social distancing pre-pandemic and they required cleanliness. 

“Everybody has actually 10-feet of space. Everyone has to work out in their own box. Even before all of this, we made sure people wiped down all their equipment, they will wipe down their bars, anything they touched, they wiped down. This is before COVID, so you know, it kind of hurt us to be grouped into that because we were already being very cautious about our members' health concerns, period,” said Marcus Taylor, Co-owner of Petworth Fitness.

Owners like Zac Wall of F45 Training are hoping lawmakers will consider the weight they’re adding to the already heavy lifting of being a business owner in these unusual times.  

“When we sanitize, we go through and we sanitize with electromagnetic sanitizer and it completely sanitizes the entire place," said Wall. "When you're working out, you're not only improving your fitness, but you're also improving your mental state. You're improving everything that is kind of around you.”

Masks are required throughout most of the metro region, but there are still limits on how many people can gather together—a restriction they're hoping to see lifted soon.

RELATED: 'It's been complete devastation' | Restaurant owners describe surviving coronavirus pandemic

RELATED: New Jersey gym's license pulled after violating COVID-19 closure order repeatedly

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