As other businesses move forward, gyms await guidance from Columbus

Tri-State tennis club lobbies lawmakers in Columbus to open

SYMMES TOWNSHIP, Ohio (FOX19) - Ohio’s phased reopening includes nearly 90 percent of all businesses in the state, but gyms and fitness clubs are not among them.

That doesn’t sit well with Steve Contardi, owner of The Club at Harper’s Point.

Part-tennis complex, part-sports club, Harper’s Point is primarily a business, Contardi stressed in his virtual testimony Monday before a State House Committee for COVID-19 Economic Development.

“Tennis is in fact a business,” Contardi said. “I feel that we’ve been overlooked."

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine did not address gyms and sports clubs in his press conference last week, where he detailed the second phase of Ohio’s reopening, including restaurants and salons.

Contardi was previously able to lobby state legislators to allow his outdoor tennis courts to open up, just as they allowed golf courses to remain open through the pandemic.

On the logic of that, Contardi said: “Tennis is probably the most ideal sport coming out of a pandemic, because there is no contact, everybody uses their own equipment and of course you’re playing it on a 7,000 sq-ft. area, and there’s either two or four people on it, so there’s no problem with social distancing.”

At the same time, the other aspects of his business, including the indoor courts, swimming pool and fitness rooms, have been shut down for two months, and he wants guidance on when that is going to stop.

“We have got the procedures in place,” Contardi said. “We are ready to go. Our people are going to be more safe than they’ve ever been before, and more safe here than they’ll be in any place in the city. I’ll tell you that.”

The House Committee that heard Contardi’s testimony Monday told him it was not in a position to answer his questions the same day. He does say he expects to hear a decision by the end of the week on when gyms and fitness clubs will be allowed to reopen.

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