Plymouth Life Time Reacts to Governor’s Order Closing Gyms
The holiday season is generally when people try to get in the gym to burn off those excess calories. But come Saturday, the state says people will have to find other ways to get in their workouts.
“This time we’re promised four weeks,” said Keri Anderson, a personal trainer at the Plymouth Life Time. “I don’t know… we’re planning for the worst.”
Under Minnesota Governor Tim Walz’s executive order, fitness centers join restaurants, bars, event centers and organized sports that will have to abide by shutdown restrictions for a four-week period between Friday, Nov. 20, at 11:59 p.m. and Friday, Dec. 18.
It’s news that wasn’t exactly met with widespread praise by gymgoers.
“I think it’s pretty sad,” said Stephen Glover of Plymouth. “I mean, places like [the Plymouth Life Time] have done everything right to keep safety in order.”
When Life Time reopened its Minnesota clubs back in June, it put in a number of safety protocols to help keep its member safe from COVID-19. That includes things like cleaning stations scattered throughout its clubs and temperature checks for people who walk in the door.
Life Time officials say that their investments in safety have worked.
“Twenty-one and a half million visits since we reopened the first club in Oklahoma City,” said Life Time CEO Bahram Akradi. “We’ve had about 900 cases. It’s .004 percent.”
State health data links gyms to 48 outbreaks and 747 infections, but more so in the summer and early fall.
Akradi said that Minnesota case numbers attributed to Life Time are even lower, so he feels as if gyms are being unfairly targeted.
“We are not in a position to pay everybody and pay taxes and pay rent and pay mortgage payments and have no revenue,” Akradi said. “It’s not just us, it’s everybody else. This is not a good approach.”
Offering fitness alternatives
Rather than closing for four weeks, Life Time offered to go down to 10 percent capacity and make masks mandatory for everyone in its buildings. At the moment, masks are exempt for people while they’re in the process of exercising.
“I appreciate our governor who is trying really hard right now,” Akradi said. “I just think there is a better way. There is a better approach.”
In the meantime, cases, hospitalizations and deaths related to COVID-19 continue at unprecedented levels.
Life Time hopes the state reverses course. But if the shutdown does indeed last through Dec. 18 — or beyond — personal trainers have a word of advice.
“I think having a healthy support system around you, and/or somebody that can help hold you accountable throughout that time is absolutely crucial,” Anderson said. “Because we’re all in it together.”