Frustrations grow as gyms remain closed in New Jersey with no sign of reopening

Frustration is growing in the New Jersey fitness community. New York state announced that gyms can reopen next week, leaving New Jersey as one of only two states not allowing for a reopening.

News 12 Staff

Aug 20, 2020, 8:52 PM

Updated 1,430 days ago

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Frustration is growing in the New Jersey fitness community. New York state announced that gyms can reopen next week, leaving New Jersey as one of only two states not allowing for a reopening.
New Jersey gyms can provide private one-on-one training options indoors for now, but gym owners say that it is not enough.
“Obviously, one-on-one personal training isn’t going to support a 20,000 square-foot gym,” says Fair Lawn Retro Fitness owner Bob Lopresti.
Lopresti also owns the Retro Fitness franchise in Lincroft. He says that never in his 40 years in the fitness industry has he been this worried about his small businesses. He, along with other gym owners in New Jersey, is pleading with Gov. Phil Murphy to let gyms start to reopen.
“Whatever protocols he asks us to do, what the governor wants us to do, we will do,” he says. “We just have to get these doors open. There won’t be any gyms left in the state if we don’t get open.”
Gym owners say that they have been ready for months to reopen safely. All Retro Fitness locations – more than 50 in New Jersey – already have signs on the floors and equipment promoting social distancing. There are sanitation stations set up, PPE for staff and a touchless check in to keep track of capacity. There is also plexiglass at the front desk to protect staff.
“Cleanliness is always a top priority. That’s no different to us. Now, more than ever, I think we can show that and prove that,” says staff member Dina Jorge. “Forty-seven other states have and there’s no reason for us not to.”
Gyms in the Garden State have been closed for 155 days. Industry executives say that 55,000 fitness employees in New Jersey are out of work. Gym operators, mostly small business owners, say that they need to open for their own financial wellbeing and their members’ physical and mental health.
Gov. Murphy did indicate earlier this week that he is closer to reopening gyms than he is to allowing indoor dining.
 


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