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Local gyms & fitness centers working together to reopen after coronavirus closures

Gyms aren't included in the first wave of openings under Gov. DeWine's plan, but 18 gyms on Cleveland's east side are banding together to come up with a stategy.

BEACHWOOD, Ohio — A group of local indoor recreation and entertainment businesses have banded together to come up with reopening plans as they wait to open their doors. However, the wait hasn’t been an easy one.

“I hate being in this place and not having it full,” says an emotional Maureen Eppich. “This has been my dream since I was 15.”

Maureen has been teaching gymnastics since she was 15 years old, but has been away from tutoring her kids for over a month after Jump Start Gymnastics was forced to close on March 13th.

Eppich says, “The unique challenge to gymnastics, especially is, you can’t be hands off. It’s not a class. It’s not what it is.”

Since the doors have been closed, Maureen and her crew have made use of the time by cleaning and sanitizing the gym from floor to ceiling. In fact, they even removed over 13,000 foam cubes from their pit to clean by hand before replacing them.

The next step is figuring out how to interweave the state guidelines into a plan specific for their facility before reopening. Maureen decided it’d be beneficial to organize a group of similar businesses from around the area to help come up with a plan.

“We took what was available, what’s currently happening and our best guess on how we can do that, plus more,” says Eppich.

The local businesses collaborating with Maureen include more than a dozen gyms, fitness centers, dance studios and entertainment facilities.

Jamie Haggerty, GM of Adrenalin Monkey, an indoor adventure center in Warrensville Heights says, “We’re better when we collaborate. We’re all in this together, as everyone keeps saying. So, why not reach out to places just like us to see what they’re doing and share our best practices and hear them. Maybe they’re doing something better that we can use here at Adrenalin Monkey.”

“I think everybody got something to make them better,” says Eppich.

The group discussed screening and temperature taking at the entrance, limiting capacity to 50 percent, having only 6 clients per instructor and much more. Their next step is reaching out to clients to hear their concerns and make sure they’re addressing them before they reopen. Whenever, that may be.

“We’re left planning without plans,” says Eppich. “We all have clean facilities now. We’re all getting everything ready with our sanitation and check-in policies and all that. Now, we’re just waiting.”

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