Gyms look into Gov. DeWine’s legal authority after warning of possible shutdowns

Gyms look into Gov. DeWine’s legal authority after warning of possible shutdowns
Governor Dewine threatens to shut down gyms if the spread of covid does not slow down (Source: Morgan Parrish)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - On Wednesday, Gov. Mike DeWine sent strong warnings to Ohioans about what could happen if Ohio’s COVID-19 cases continue to increase at rapid rates.

Now, the leadership team at Cincinnati Sports Club is investigating the legal authority Gov. DeWine has when it comes to shutting down fitness centers.

“Based on a court order from May of 2020, the Ohio governor does not have authority to close down health clubs, or impose fines on businesses,” said Mary Frank with the Executive Leadership Team at Cincinnati Sports Club.

Since February, the club has been implementing its pandemic preparedness plan. One that, so far, has been successful.

“Since reopening, we have had more than 150,000 visits to the club," said Frank. "Our contact tracers have had 13 self-reported cases, zero of which have been traced, spread, or contracted here at the club.”

Staff members go through 14,000 gym wipes a week and more than four gallons of sanitizer.

A Twitter poll asking people if they felt safe going to the gym, resulted in 64% of voters saying they would rather workout at home.

Bob Motz, of Norwood, says she feels safe going to the gym, despite being at high risk of getting COVID-19.

“I feel safe," Motz stated. “I can’t talk for all gyms. I was looking into some when we were closed and I don’t feel all of them are probably safe. "But I am a high-risk category and I come six days a week, couple hours at a time and I feel safe or I wouldn’t be here.”

Motz spends two hours each day kickboxing, lifting weights, and running on the treadmill. She says, she’s not happy with Gov. DeWine’s threat to shut down gyms.

Frank over at the Cincinnati Sports Club said she thinks DeWine shouldn’t make a ruling for all gyms. Instead, she thinks it should be done on a gym by gym basis.

“I think they should be one on one,” Frank explained. "They should come check the gym and as long as we’re following all of the guidelines, we should be able to stay open,” said Frank.

Members at Life Time say they have had more than 19 million visits since they reopened and the thought of closing again is unimaginable.

“Without any true federal stimulus support, it would make it that much more of a difficult situation, especially knowing the timing of the year as well,” said Senior Area Director of Life Time Jesse Brandyberry.

Members at the Cincinnati Sports Club said they will be sending a letter Monday to the governor explaining the steps health clubs are taking to keep everyone safe.

Gov. DeWine says he will be making a decision, next Thursday.

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