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'It feels good': Fitness centers reopen in Vancouver after Gov. Inslee eases COVID-19 guidelines

KPTV Portland logo KPTV Portland 1/11/2021
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VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) - After Governor Jay Inslee eased COVID-19 guidelines for fitness centers in Washington last week, gyms in Vancouver opened Monday morning.

It was back to the gym, but not back to normal for members of 24 Hour Fitness on Fourth Plain Boulevard.

Masks, social distancing, and other COVID-19 protocols remain in place.

Also, members can't come and go whenever they please. 24 Hour Fitness members will need to make an appointment ahead of time and they can only workout for 45 minutes at a time.


Working on his upper body strength Monday, Chris Atkins told FOX 12 he's happy to feel his blood pumping again.

"It's nice, it feels good. I wish is was a little longer. The 45 minutes is kind of short but it's nice to get back in here," Atkins said.

The gym shutdown upset many owners who felt they had nailed COVID-19 protocols and weren't responsible for the spread, but in fact should be credited with keeping people healthy.

"It is frustrating. However, we believe that we're the solution, not the cause of COVID-19, so being open and being here is just the best thing possible," said Jen Fox, with 24 Hour Fitness. "I think they're kind of ridiculous to tell people they can't come in here and get healthy, when that's your biggest fight against COVID-19, it's kind of ridiculous."

The shutdown was hard on many people, including Don Newell.

Newell has Parkinson's and says without a gym workout, his disease is much worse.

Being able to flex his muscles on Monday helps him live with Parkinson's.

"It means an awful lot. It means my health." said Newell.

There are still a few limits on the indoor gyms, like just one client per 500 square feet. 24 Hour Fitness figures they could have 90 members working out at one time at the Fourth Plain Boulevard location.

While a workout may not cure COVID-19, it can help with pandemic fatigue.

"Gives me the exercise I need and gets me out of the house," one woman said.

Indoor activities like gymnastics, dance or rock-climbing are also allowed under the new guidelines.


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