SOMERVILLE (CBS) – Tuesday marks the long-awaited start of a Phase 3 reopening Somerville. It has been a difficult few months for gym owners in the city. Gyms were shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic for months, but as other communities started to allow them to reopen, Somerville kept pushing it back.
“Now to be pushed back two weeks is kind of a slap in the face, because we really do feel like we’re prepared, we’ve been following the guidelines,” Rx Strength Training owner Jeff Butterworth told WBZ almost two months ago.
Mayor Joe Curtatone delayed Phase 3 in the city for two weeks after case numbers started to rise. The two-week delay stretched to seven weeks and gym members started to look outside the city, where other gyms were open.
“Members that had been with us for a long time. They just need a gym. I guess I wouldn’t have blamed them if they had gone somewhere else,” Butterworth said.
Now he hopes to get some of them back when gyms in Somerville are finally able to reopen with restrictions on Tuesday.
“So being able to open with the restrictions, it’s definitely a huge load off because as you can see, we’ve got everything scheduled now with our little you know squares here,” Butterworth said, pointing out individual workout spaces marked on the floor.
The gym now has cleaning supplies at every station and hospital grade air filters.
Each workspace is blocked off for social distancing and thoroughly cleaned between uses. Butterworth said everyone will also need to sign in for contact tracing.
With business down about 50% because of Covid-19, Butterworth said the next several weeks will be crucial for his gym to survive.
“We do want to be a positive example. We want to make sure that this experiment of allowing gyms to open up again is a good one,” he said. “We can kind of lead from the front.”
Butterworth said if Phase 3 was delayed into the winter, his gym would not have made it.