‘You're Just Crushing Somerville Businesses Now': City Delays Phase 3 Reopening for 4th Time

There is one glimmer of hope for struggling gyms, though: the city is allowing outdoor fitness classes with a 25-person limit starting Monday.

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Phase three of reopening in Somerville has been pushed back again. The rest of Massachusetts is already in the third phase of the state's economic reopening plan.

Somerville was supposed to allow gyms, movie theaters, and cultural centers to reopen on Monday, but because of the recent uptick in new cases across Massachusetts, city officials say they’re pressing pause. 

There is one glimmer of hope for struggling gyms, though: the city is allowing outdoor fitness classes with a 25-person limit.

Jason and Lauren Pak were ready to welcome back their Achieve Fitness clients on Aug. 3, but were crushed to learn the city decided to delay phase three for a fourth time.

"That is hardest blow because people can live in Somerville and go workout in Cambridge and come back and live here,” Lauren Pak said. “You’re just crushing Somerville businesses now, it just feels more personal.”

While the city will now allow outdoor fitness classes for up to 25 people, it's not as easy as it sounds.

For the fourth time, the city of Somerville is delaying the start of phase 3.

Like some other Somerville gyms, Achieve Fitness has no outdoor space. So, they’ve reserved a park about a mile and a half away and will have to somehow transport all of their heavy equipment.

“We’re thinking about getting a pod or something you can set up to be a home for our equipment there,” Lauren Pak said.

Their clients are disappointed in yet another delay, but eager to at least get outside and reconnect in person.

“Part of the reason we love Achieve so much is the community, and we’ve lost that over the last six months,” said Dan Johnson, who lives a couple blocks away from the gym.

Jason and Lauren Pak are excited for that, too, but they’re afraid outdoor classes simply aren’t enough to keep their business alive.

“We’ve lost about 60-percent of our memberships, and we have about two and a half months left of reserves to basically to survive,” she said. “We’re definitely struggling, it’s hard.” 

On Sunday, Massachusetts health officials announced 11 new deaths from the coronavirus and 353 additional cases as the state continues to see a slight rise in the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19.

There have now been 8,417 deaths and 110,430 cases, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

The percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive, on average, ticked up to 2.2%, up from 1.7% last week.

Somerville officials say they will provide an update on the city's reopening by Aug. 17.

A yoga studio in Massachusetts is considering a lawsuit against the City of Somerville after it twice delayed the start of Phase 3 of Governor Charlie Baker's economic reopening plan.
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