Triangle gym owners react to remaining in Phase 2 and closed

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Gyms in North Carolina will have to remain closed for another five weeks after Gov. Roy Cooper announced an extension of Phase 2.

Gym owners called the development disappointing but not surprising.

“It becomes progressively more difficult,” Bethany Stillwaggon said.

Stillwaggon is a lead coach for Row House in Raleigh. With gyms still closed, her paycheck isn’t what it used to be.

“Some people have taken maybe another part time job to just kind of lean them over until we’re able to come back and reopen,” she explained.

Row House like other gyms has tried to be creative, hosting outdoor classes and online ones. But there aren’t as many and social distancing means they’re smaller.

Then came the governor’s announcement Wednesday that the state would remain in Phase 2, keeping gyms closed for another five weeks.

“We’re just kind of along for the ride,” Stillwaggon said.

Also along for the side is Matt Shifflette with Orangetheory. He owns 20 studios in North Carolina, employing about 300 people. He said he’s had to furlough 285 of them.

“Its a nightmare scenario for us. We cannot continue down this path and have the opportunity to open on the backside of this,” Shifflette said.

He explained that when you look at the data from other states where gyms have been allowed to re-open, it shows they’re not the source of spread.

“It still seems like we’re standing behind schools in line and the fact that schools and gyms can’t coincide in their reopening just doesn’t seem to make sense,” he said.

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