The owners of a Pennsylvania gym reopened their business despite the governor’s orders, stating that “enough is enough.”
Ray and Angela Ross, owners of the Gorilla House Gym in Altoona, Pennsylvania, have reopened their gym despite Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) orders, which have resulted in the closure of “nonessential” businesses like salons and gyms.
The owners opened their business on Friday and, according to the Altoona Mirror, have “already generated two citations, one Friday by Altoona code enforcement and one of [sic] Saturday by Altoona police.”
“No one allowed us to do this,” owner Ray Ross stated. “We did this on our own. We just decided to do it. We didn’t ask permission to do it. We just did it, and we’re going to keep doing it. Someone had to take a stand. Enough is enough.”
The gym is located in Blair County, which reported just 25 cases of the coronavirus as of Tuesday afternoon.
Wolf announced this week that 24 counties will move from the state’s red phase to yellow, effective Friday, May 8. While that loosens restrictions on certain nonessential businesses — allowing in-person retail and gatherings of up to 25 — gyms, spas, hair salons, nail salons, and theaters are required to remain closed during the yellow phase, according to the governor’s plan:
As regions or counties move into the yellow phase, some restrictions on work and social interaction will ease while others, such as closures of schools, gyms, and other indoor recreation centers, hair and nail salons, as well as limitations around large gatherings, remain in place. For example, retail locations will be able to open with forthcoming guidance in place that is substantially similar to the worker safety and building safety order. Otherwise retail will be able to allow for curbside pickup. The purpose of this phase is to begin to power back up the economy while keeping a close eye on the public health data to ensure the spread of disease remains contained to the greatest extent possible.
Blair County was not among those outlined by the governor moving into the next phase — a development that helped solidify Ross’s decision to reopen.
“The governor keeps pushing back the opening day, and it’s pretty obvious this has turned political. Nurses are being laid off, and the hospitals are not overrun,” he stated.
According to the Altoona Mirror, the gym owners and staffers conducted a deep clean of the facility prior to opening. The gym sent an email to roughly 800 members of the facility, outlining protocols like cleaning equipment and maintaining a proper distance from others.
“We don’t want people right on top of each other,” Ross said.
Per the Altoona Mirror:
Both Ross and his wife served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and Ross was in law enforcement before they opened the gym in Altoona five years ago. They also have a location in Huntingdon County that also opened. Staying closed at this point goes against everything they have served to protect, he said. Since the closure, they’ve lost about 100 members in Altoona alone.
Ross said he’ll fight the citations issued by the city’s code enforcement and police, citations he said carry a fine between $10 and $50 each. Ross said he would have hoped that other gyms in the area would have contacted him instead of reporting him for being opened.
Reaction from members has been positive, Ross said, telling the paper that people are coming in and thanking them for reopening.
“The amount of support we’ve had for people wanting to come in is insane,” he added.
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