Birmingham gyms plan for Alabama reopening following closures during COVID-19 outbreak

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — States are preparing to reopen their economies with some, like Georgia, opening as early as Friday. Included in the reopenings will be restaurants, barbershops and gyms.

While the businesses may be legally allowed to reopen their doors, a couple gyms in Birmingham are planning out their gradual return to normality.

“Traditionally, our classes hold 16 but now our plan is to do eight,” co-owner and partner of Homewood’s Gauntlet Fitness Paul Shunnarah said about their measures to maintain social distancing. “Because with the space we have, we can do 8 people per class while keeping the 6 foot social distance.”

Gauntlet is a kickboxing gym that has built a strong community. One of the challenges Shunnarah is anticipating is the urge for clients to immediately want to gather inside and catch up.

“I’m planning a conference with myself and other trainers at the gym explaining that for us to open up, there are a few guidelines you’re going to have to abide by,” he said.

Downtown Birmingham’s gym True40 is also planning their return to in-person classes.

“We usually have a class of 18, so we’re cutting that in half,” owner Kaitlyn Bentley said. “That’ll allow for social distancing during our classes.”

Both gyms are offering virtual workouts online while stay-at-home orders are in place and they plan to continue offering those services as their reopening plans begin.

Gov. Kay Ivey’s stay-at-home order for Alabama is set to expire April 30 with decisions on whether to extend it or reopen the state being made at that time.


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