Mass. Gym Owner Anxious to Reopen as Other Businesses Begin Welcoming Customers Back

A CrossFit owner in Shrewsbury says that Gov. Baker's placement of gyms in Phase 3 of his reopening plan is unrealistic for his small gym

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As businesses like barber shops and hair salons are able to reopen in Massachusetts as part of the first phase of Governor Charlie Baker's reopening plan, owners of other businesses that remain closed are trying to look ahead.

Joe Shea, the owner of CrossFit 1727 in Shrewsbury, stood in an empty gym Monday. His gym is normally packed every Memorial Day for the “Murph workout” in honor of a Navy lieutenant killed in the line of duty. 

“Right now we’re phased at Phase 3 of the reopening which will bring us out to the end of June,” Shea said.

The business owner says that Gov. Baker's placement of gyms in Phase 3 of his reopening plan, along with bars and casinos, is unrealistic for his small gym, which has seen membership drop off during the pandemic by as much as 40%.

He also has his routine overhead costs like rent and insurance. 

“For me personally I don’t see being able to take a dollar out of this place in six to 12 months even once we’re open,” he said. 

Members are also being affected. 

“They’re not working out as much as they should be, we’ve seen the morale drop off significantly from when we were first closed,” Shea said. 

The gym has been offering virtual classes since March, but Shea says it’s time they reopen safely given that churches and retails stores have already been allowed to reopen.

Shea says he can “safeguard” his clients easily. Some of those precautions include taking temperatures at the door, limiting classes to eight people, and making sure that each person has a set area they can work out in with limited equipment.

Proper social distancing will also be enforced. 

“We can do this safely," Shea said. "And at the end of the day the people coming to the gym here are willing to, willingly coming in and they should have that choice.” 

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