Gyms stay open despite governor’s order to shut down

Cardio sessions at West Coast Fitness aren’t canceled despite Gov. Jay Inslee’s latest restrictions.

Owner Nicolas Dunning is staying open but said it was a difficult decision.

“The employees and the members are really the reason why we decided to. We know that there will be ramifications,” he said.

Dunning believes his gym, which is at 10% capacity, is a safe spot to be. They’re taking temperatures at the door, blocking off machines and water fountains, sanitizing equipment and mandating masks.

Dunning isn’t the only gym owner defying the governor’s sweeping restrictions.

“It’s so stressful because I don’t have the money to cover a fine. I don’t have the money to shut down. Shutting down means I would probably lose my gym at this point,” said Tammy Colbert, Vision Fitness and Health’s owner.

Colbert said she doesn’t have a choice.

“We need health and fitness, especially during these times,” she said.

Gym owners argue that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention isn’t connecting increased coronavirus cases to fitness clubs.

“Across the nation, there are .0024% cases coming out of gyms. That’s a fraction of a fraction, so the science is there. It’s not a hotbed of germs in the gym,” said Paul MacLurg, a gym owner.

However, the state stated it’s difficult to tell due to voluntary contact tracing. Officials said the virus spreads indoors when people are unmasked and close together.

Gym members told KIRO 7 they’re willing to take the risk.

“For me, coming here versus going to a grocery store — I don’t know what the difference would be,” said Dan Johnson.

Gym owners hope Inslee reverses this decision and allows them to legally open their doors.

“I am personally not worried about what the state will do to me, whether that be financial ramifications, whether they want to throw me in handcuffs. I’m doing this because it’s what my employees want me to do, and it’s because my community wants me to do,” said Dunning.

According to the state, if there are complaints, there will be an investigation. And, depending on the circumstances, it could lead to a nearly $10,000 fine.