Loophole: NC gyms can open for those with doctors’ notes

An exception means NC gyms can open, with a doctor's note

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Based on a ruling from the North Carolina Department of Justice, the State Department of Health and Human Services is allowing gyms to open for people who have a medical need for the gym.

People have to present their gym with a note from a health provider or doctor and then they can work out indoors.

“It makes it more of a ‘loophole’ which makes it more difficult to open so we have thought about it but the governor could come back in next week and shut that down,” said Chris Narveson, who owns two Orange Theory Fitness locations.

Content Continues Below

His location in Steele Creek has been closed since March. While he has thought about using the “doctors’ note” exception to open, he said nobody knows how long that might last.

“Our industry is hurting. It’s not easy, and I know a lot of gyms are open and I don’t fault them. But it’s really hard because nobody knows what the right thing to do is right now,” he said.

For now, he’s staying closed.

The State Health Department told Channel 9 that individuals must present a doctors’ note or prescription to their gym in order to work out indoors.

There’s no paperwork that a gym needs to submit to the state, and it’s not keeping a list of gyms that are open. But it doesn’t make it any less confusing for people.

Channel 9 received documents showing 311 complaints. On Aug. 10, 11 and 12, CMPD received three different complaints from three different callers about a South End gym where people were working out.

One caller reported seeing around 30 people. But CMPD looked into it and found the gym is allowed to be open.

In those complaints, a CMPD captain wrote, “This business is open for members that have health conditions.”

It’s been an incredibly challenging five months for gyms in North Carolina.

“Everyone’s open in 47 states and we are one of those places that’s not,” Narveson said.

Local gym holds outdoor classes to help stay in business

Narveson said he’s going to hang on while he can. But if Phase 2 continues past September he said he would consider opening for clients with doctors’ notes.

“It’s either that or shut down. If you’re going to shut down gyms until there’s a vaccine let us know so we don’t blow all the money that we have,” he said.

A CMPD spokesperson told Channel 9 that they weren’t aware of any gyms that had been cited for opening up under Phase 2.