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LOGAN — A change from the Bear River Health Department has given the green light for gyms to reopen. Officials said they hoped it would be a starting point to return life back to normal.
Not everyone was confident that the decision will work out as expected, or that it’s the best move, with coronavirus cases still on the rise in Utah.
As of Monday, the Bear River Health Department reported 49 positive cases of coronavirus, with 8 people hospitalized. The department covers Box Elder, Cache and Rich Counties.
“We’re looking for ways that maybe we can get out of the way of business, while still protecting (the) public’s health,” said health department director Lloyd Berentzen.
He said after careful thought, leaders in the area ran their decision past state legislators.
“If we can find places where we can give folks an opportunity to have some hope and move forward, this is a good thing, I think, and it sends a good message,” said Berentzen.
Granted, opening up more services has brought with it some valid concerns.
“(It’s) the nature of it — the way you’re sweating, breathing heavy. It just seems a less healthy place, especially with sharing the virus,” said resident John Olsen.
He was just one of those concerned by the move, and why gyms would be first to reopen. But there are some guidelines business owners will have to follow to reopen.
“My biggest concern is, from my understanding, we’re still a week away from peaking,” Olsen said.
The Sports Academy in North Logan opened up Monday morning, only after making some big changes: no guest passes, only one gym member per 200 square feet, gym equipment must be disinfected between uses, locker rooms are closed, and the whole place was disinfected before opening.
Owner Dan Smith sent KSL pictures showing lanyards members have to check out to hit certain areas of the gym. They’ve also closed off several of their treadmills to keep people apart.
He also said members were to be asked about coughing, sneezing, fever, or shortness of breath at the door.
Between all three counties, the Bear River Health Department said they have about 45 gyms. They only knew of a few that were planning on reopening.