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Gym owner pushing through pandemic, waiting for chance to reopen

Posted at 11:18 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 23:18:55-04

INDIANAPOLIS — As restaurants, retailers and salons slowly get back to business in most parts of Indiana, fitness facilities remain in a holding pattern.

Gym owners are not exempt from feeling the burden on small businesses created by the COVID-19 pandemic. One local personal trainer has come up with alternatives to keep clients moving and in shape.

Thanks to coronavirus it's been a long three months for personal trainer and gym owner Mike Ford.

"It's kind of brought it to a complete stop since February," Ford said.

To get by, he's been meeting with his clients one-on-one outside of his facility.

"The bad part about that is I still pay for this facility, like lights, you know the basic utilities," Ford said.

Meeting off-site has been a temporary solution to help his clients stay in shape while he tries to pay bills and remain socially distant.

"We would meet in Lawrence Park and just run up and down the hill," Ford said. "If it's 6 or 7 in the morning it's just me and them. There is nobody else around."

Being safe and sanitized is top of mind for Ford and his staff. He said the gym has been sanitized from top to bottom and he believes constant cleaning and smaller groups of people should make customers feel safe about resuming classes inside, especially in a smaller gym like his where the limit is 25 compared to larger gyms that can hold far more people.

"Compared to LA Fitness or a Lifetime or a Planet Fitness because you don't want to be around so many different people, coughing, their sweat, picking up something that was already wet," Ford said. "In a smaller setting like this it's just you and your trainer so the risk is very minimal."

Under Gov. Eric Holcomb's reopening plan, gyms in most parts of Indiana are scheduled to be allowed to reopen at half capacity on May 24. It's still not clear when Marion County will allow gyms to reopen.