Gyms prepare for return of group classes

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Gym were among the businesses that heard good news on Wednesday when the state health department announced a plan that could bring in more clients starting this weekend.

Joe Cebulski, the owner of 8th Day Gym in Grand Rapids, loves to see his clients working out. The gym caters to people seeking group workouts.

“The product that we sell, group fitness classes,” Cebulski said. “Human beings have loved working out together for a long, long time.”

But lately, the gym hasn’t been full.

In mid-November the state banned indoor fitness classes. Cebulski had to change his game plan, going from group exercise to open gym.

“It’s very hard to come into a gym by yourself and try to figure out what to do,” Cebulski said. “Much easier with a class, a coach and a program waiting for you.”

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday announced that group exercise and indoor non-contact sports may resume with masks and social distancing Saturday. Cebulski said he’s happy but not thrilled.

“My initial reaction after nine months of this back and forth was muted and tempered,” Cebulski said.

His gym has lost a lot of memberships throughout the pandemic. During the current restrictions, he’s lost about 30% of his clients.

“It easily pushes you over the line from black to red,” Cebulski said. “We’re running on savings right now.”

It’s difficult to maintain a positive approach in what’s been a bad year for business.

“We celebrated our 10-year anniversary closed — good times,” the owner said jokingly.

The upcoming order will last until Jan. 31.

Indoor classes at 8th Day Gym will resume next week. Cebulski hopes he can offer indoor sessions without any more interruptions.

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