Some gyms reopen despite ruling, others wait

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Frustration is brewing among some gym owners over the state’s coronavirus restrictions.

“The gym needs to be open,” said Jason Fuhrman, owner of Endurance Fitness in Kentwood. “We live in a free country; I’m choosing to exercise my rights.”

Fuhrman is choosing to remain open. He is defying a federal court of appeals decision to keep gyms closed. The court overruled District Judge Paul Maloney ‘s ruling issued last week to allow weight-rooms to re-open Thursday.

“I have a key to the front door, and I’m allowed to unlock it and allow my members to come in if they chose to,” Fuhrman said.

Unlike Endurance Fitness Center, the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids will not reopen. Managers said the safety of their staff and members is their top priority.

“We just got to wait a little bit longer, but that’s OK,” said Kevin Myers, district executive director for the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids.

Myers said he is keeping the gyms empty, following the guidance of state leaders. When the time is right, he said exercise there will look a bit different.

“We’ll be taking temperatures and asking a few questions just making sure the people coming in are healthy and safe,” Myers said. “We’ve also spaced out a lot of our equipment.”

Myers said most YMCA gym-goers had not canceled memberships, while Fuhrman said sign-ups at his gym have increased.

“They love that I’m taking a stand on their behalf,” Fuhrman said.

While there is no timeline in sight, gym workers continue establishing policies to protect their members, or in Fuhrman’s case, fight for them.

“They have something that’s healthy, a structure in their life I’m proud to be a part of,” Fuhrman said.