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SBAM and Chambers Urge Gov To Open Up Remaining Businesses; Gyms Say They’re Safe

August 25, 2020

Gyms, movie theaters, bowling alleys and other venues that show they can reopen safely must be given the opportunity to do it, said the leaders of four major business organizations in a letter to the Governor and the Legislature Friday morning.

If restaurants, public swimming pools and casinos can open, other businesses that serve the public indoors and have proven to be able to do it in other states without becoming a spreader for COVID-19 should be allowed to open, they argued.

“These businesses have been completely closed after months of the public health emergency, while still facing property tax bills, rent, payroll and other expenses,” reads the letter from Brian Calley of the Small Business Association of Michigan; Rich Studley of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Rick Baker of the Grand Rapids Chamber and Sandy Baruah of the Detroit Regional Chamber.

“We ask that you and your administration find ways to give businesses, especially those that remain closed, a fighting chance — and soon,” it reads.

They also asked that businesses that closed for the past five months due to COVID-19 restrictions be given property tax relief and protections from “needless COVID-19 related lawsuits.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said earlier this week she is working with the Department of Health and Human Services to “drill down” on what she needs to see, case-wise, to allow businesses that are still closed to reopen. She said she would have more to share on that next week as the work is going on right now.

In related news, owners of a Lansing-area Planet Fitness took media on a tour of the steps they are taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 if they’re allowed to open. Every other piece of cardio-equipment — treadmills, stationary bikes, EFX machines — are closed down.

A new type of peroxide-based cleaning spray is available for guests to wipe down machines, weights and other equipment after use. Staff will be required to do a 20-minute walkthrough with a different cleaning solution to also disinfect the gym.

Workout stations also are taped off so social distancing remains a priority. Also, members would be able to check how busy the gym is on an app so they could hold off on a workout until the crowd thins out. Also, special masks are available for all guests.

The steps are all part of a 90-page plan Planet Fitness is proposing on how their members can exercise safely.

“We make it hard to do it wrong,” said Justin Clark, the manager of the Planet Fitness on West Saginaw in Delta Township.

In related news, a Saginaw Township gym that opened despite the Governor’s executive orders, is being fined $2,100 for not adequately protecting its employees and its members. Coop’s Iron Works is now tied 20 cases of COVID-19, according to MLive.

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