Gyms feeling the crunch, tanning salons feeling the heat, want to reopen sooner than planned


CONNECTICUT (WTNH) — Nationwide, according to the International Racquet and Sports Club Association, sports clubs are losing an average of $700 million a week due to the coronavirus shut down.

Here in Connecticut, gyms and tanning salons are deemed not essential.

But business owners said they should be open because exercise and ultraviolet lights boost the immune system and relieve stress.

At The Club in Naugatuck, the owner is doing the heavy lifting to reopen, including more sanitizer stations

“People can wipe down their machines before and after,” Joe Gworek, owner of The Club and Naugatuck Valley Cross Fit, said.

He’s moved equipment in the 20,000 square-foot gym 6 feet apart and he ordered the free temperature scanner from the state.

“One definitely will be used on employees when they come in. We’re gonna have a checklist to make sure that they are not sick and are not running a temperature.”

But the June 20 reopening date set by Governor Ned Lamont for nonessentials — like gyms —
Gworek said is a gut punch.

“People can recover a lot faster if they are healthier,” he said.

An online petition “Get CT Fit” has more than 4,000 signatures and includes 50 business owners. All want to open sooner.

“We were ready to go,” said Paul Harrington, of Tommy’s Tanning. “Unfortunately, we were threatened with arrest and fines if we opened the doors on May 20.”

Tommy’s Tanning, in Branford, took precautions; arrows on the floor, sneeze guards at the desk and hand sanitizer. They even self-certified as the state asked with the Department of Economic and Community Development badge.

But the state said no, despite the fact tanning isn’t regulated by the local health department.

But Harrington is hopeful.

“Some people may not decide to go to the beach and come to us because they’re in a room by themselves and the best part about it is when they leave this room we hospital-grade sanitize and clean the room.”

They stand to lose a hot million dollars because of COVID-19.

Governor Lamont said tanning salons and gyms are not essential and he’s holding strong to the June 20 deadline.

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