SIERRA VISTA — Part of staying healthy is keeping fit, which is why some local gym owners are keeping their doors open for members as the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the country.

Mike Strange, owner of Summit Fitness, and Danny Diaz, co-owner of Buena Health Fitness, agreed that working out helps individuals stay healthy which is why they are keeping their gyms open when other business are changing their business structures because of the Centers for Disease Control recommendations.

“We’re handling this pandemic like any flu season but with extra precautions,” Diaz said. “We’re screening people when the come in. If they’re coughing, then they won’t be allowed in.”

Extra cleaning and use of sanitizers is being enforced to help provide a clean and hygienic atmosphere for gym goers. Strange and Diaz said they have seen a slight decline in attendance but not enough to close the doors now or in the future.

“The people I see most are the regulars,” Strange said. “The regulars haven’t cut their usage.”

Diaz said Buena Health Fitness is offering a no contract or sign up fee membership for $19.99 a month for new members. They are sticking to their Monday through Friday 4 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. hours.

“We have no plans to close,” Diaz said. “The impact is universal, not just for us.”

While they day-to-day is mostly the same, the gym canceled their annual bodybuilding competition. The Copper Classic was supposed to be held March 28, but with 65 percent of their competitors having to pull out, they decided to cancel this year’s event. Diaz said the sponsorship money collected this year will be used to cover the first 50 competitors for next year’s competition registration fees. The Copper Classic had run 37 consecutive years according to Diaz.

Summit Fitness decided to trim their hours, which the announced on their Facebook page, beginning Friday. The new hours are Monday through Friday 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“We’re not closing until we’re forced to, and I don’t know who would force us to,” Strange said. “We’re staying open for our members as long as possible.”

While Summit and Buena health are staying open, Planet Fitness announced on Facebook they were closing on March 17 through March 31. Members will not be charged for the time the facility is closed, which could extend beyond the end of the month.

“The coronavirus situation and its impact on our members, team members, and communities is unprecedented and changing rapidly. The health and wellbeing of our Planet Fitness Family is our #1 priority,” Planet Fitness CEO Chris Rondeau wrote in a press release sent to the Herald/Review.

“Given the increased threat that COVID-19 poses to our global community, and out of an abundance of caution, Planet Fitness will temporarily close the remainder of its corporate stores that are still open, effective Tuesday, March 17 at 10 p.m. through March 31. The company is strongly encouraging its franchisees to do the same. This was a difficult decision to make but we believe it is the right one.”

The most recent guidelines by the CDC, according to their website states for a “minimal-to-moderate level of community transmission” the recommendation is to “cancel community-wide mass gatherings ... or move to smaller groupings” and to “cancel gatherings of more than 10 people for organizations that serve higher-risk.”

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