Gyms join statewide effort, make plea to reopen across New York

The Catalyst Fitness owner wants the Cuomo Administration to know the fitness industry is essential, not just for physical health, but mental and emotional health.

AMHERST, N.Y. — A lot of businesses have reopened across the state, but gyms and fitness clubs remain shuttered, and they are pleading with New York State to allow them to reopen.

Outside the Catalyst Fitness in Amherst, 2 On Your Side heard some very personal stories from people who really rely on gyms and fitness clubs to be open.

Not just those who work at gyms, but those who have medical issues and maybe need a little extra motivation to get active.

“The gym is a second home for people. It’s for the mentally, and the physically, to help them be healthier people all across buffalo and New York are suffering and we have to open,” said Rebekah Kissel, a personal trainer. 

The owner of Catalyst Fitness, Amy Bueme, wants the Cuomo Administration to know that the fitness industry is essential, not just for physical health, but mental and emotional health.

Gyms have been closed down since March, and gym owners say they can’t take much more.

“There’s been no communication so that’s why we’re here pleading for a chance a chance to follow whatever the governor would like us to do,” Bueme said. “To be shut down, seven facilities, and have no money coming in and bills coming, it’s not feasible to be able to sustain.”  

Even if gyms were allowed to reopen, Catalyst Fitness says it would be able to adhere to capacity restraints, sanitation and mask requirements.

In a statement Thursday the Governor’s Office gave no indication of when or if gyms would be allowed to reopen.

“The actions taken by the Governor with respect to gyms and fitness centers are wholly consistent with the powers granted to the Executive by the Legislature. The measures the Governor has taken were intended to – and did – curb the rise of infection across the State. They also allowed us to avoid subsequent spikes of infection. Reports show that infections are rising in more than 35 states, and that officials in those states have been forced to reclose businesses and other parts of the economy that were opened too early. Every public opinion survey has shown an overwhelming majority of New Yorkers support our re-opening approach. We understand that some people aren’t happy – but better unhappy than sick or worse,” said Cuomo spokesperson Jason Conwall. 

Other gyms across the state held rallies Thursday as well. Gym owners say they’re confused that gyms in other states that have been able to keep the infection rate low have been able to reopen, but not in New York. 

Gyms have sued the state for keeping them closed for so long.

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