'We’re disappointed’: As NC enters Phase 2 Friday, gyms will still be excluded

Gyms will have to wait to reopen

CHARLOTTE — Burn Boot Camp is ready to reopen at its Mallard Creek location.

Weights that are typically in the back of the room have been moved to the front to limit people walking by each other. The weights will be wiped down after use and set aside for an hour. Social distancing squares have been taped on the floor for workouts.

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It’s a well-thought out and detailed plan but the only problem is, it won’t be in place for at least a few more weeks.

"We're disappointed for our members," said Lindsay Bushnell, owner of the Elizabeth and SouthPark Burn Boot Camp locations. "We have worked really, really hard."

Gyms were expected to be part of the state’s Phase 2 reopening, but Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday they aren’t, and neither are spas, bars or entertainment venues, such as bowling alleys.

The governor is bringing back indoor dining at restaurants, opening hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors and indoor and outdoor pools.

It’s not exactly the Phase 2 that was pitched a couple of weeks ago. The governor said North Carolina’s data only supports a scaled-back version of it.

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“Since we announced Phase 1, the state’s overall key indicators remain stable. However, the increases in the COVID-19 cases signal the need to take a more modest step forward in Phase 2 than originally envisioned,” Cooper said.

In northeast Charlotte, Premier Grooming Lounge is ready to reopen, as well. Owner Shawn Tapley said there would be no indoor-waiting area, and each client would have to wait in their car or outside. All barbers will be wearing face coverings and customers are requested to do so, too.

After a barber is finished with a client, the barber will clean their tools and chairs and wait between 10 and 15 minutes before taking another client. Each customer will have their temperature taken and will wear a different smock.

Tapley said the toughest part about being closed has been being away from his clients.

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“The barbershop is an oasis for guys, a man cave a lot of times for people just to unwind from work,” Tapley said.

Burn Boot Camp, which has multiple locations, is offering virtual classes until in-person sessions can resume.

Like Tapley, the toughest part has been not being able to see the clients.

“We have a lot of members that rely on this gym whether they have mental health issues or physical issues,” said Price, owner of the Burn Boot Camp in Mallard Creek and north Charlotte. “This gym brings a lot more to them than just a workout. Those are the people that weigh on my heart that they are not here.”

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