DOUGLAS — A local fitness center has found a way to remain open during the second wave of statewide closures of all gyms, bars, movie theaters, waterparks and tubing rentals recently issued in an executive order by Governor Doug Ducey.
The executive order mandating the closures is in effect until July 27.
Uriel Cortez, owner of The Box Strength & Fitness located at 559 Ninth Street, said as soon as the executive order was made he went online and began doing some research.
One “loophole” he found was in Section 3B which states, “indoor gyms and fitness clubs or centers.”
The Box Strength & Fitness is located in a building that was once a mechanic shop and has two large garage doors that open.
“I did some more research into what is considered indoor,” Cortez said. “My facility is an open outdoor garage. I took all the mats I had inside, brought them outside, sectioned them off, and have limited every class to about seven people, eight counting myself. I spray them down with a disinfectant after every class”
He also keeps his clients a safe distance apart from each other and is constantly disinfecting any equipment that is used.
Cortez said until the executive order is lifted, he is not accepting any new memberships, in an effort to keep everyone safe.
“I believe that health and fitness is crucial during this critical time,” he said. “If you’re not physically healthy it could adversely affect you should you contract the coronavirus. Plus, this is a good mental break for our clients. This is where they come to destress after a long day at work.”
Cortez did acknowledge the Douglas Police Department has shown up to his establishment twice in a five-day period.
“The Governor’s Executive Order 2020-43 temporarily suspends operations of indoor gyms, fitness clubs or centers,” Douglas Police Chief Kraig Fullen said. “As I understand it, the Box Fitness Center is conducting operations outdoors while observing the ADHS and CDC guidelines for social distancing and business operations.”
MC Fitness and Power Zone, both located on G Avenue, were not as fortunate however and have been forced to close for the second time since March.
“I feel bad for those places,” Cortez said referring to Power Zone and MC Fitness. “I wish they could find a way to stay open. There are a lot of gyms in Tucson and Phoenix that are protesting the executive order and are even going as far as refusing to close down.”
“I was sad to see them have to close down once again after reopening just over a month ago. That’s really rough on a business.”
Leo Gutierrez, owner of Power Zone, said this second round of closures has impacted his business to the point where he is merely hoping to survive.
Gutierrez stated he recently met with Mayor Donald Huish and Dawn Prince, deputy city manager, to get some guidance as to what he can do.
Cortez meanwhile offers two to three classes Monday through Friday and one or two classes on Saturday depending on how many are pre-registered. Cortez states The Box has an app through their Facebook page that requires his members to pre-register for a class. It also informs them if that class they want to attend is full and they need to find another time slot to workout.
“My clients are upset as well; they don’t understand how some gyms are open while others are closed,” Gutierrez said. “We’re trying to comply with the (executive) order. I’m trying to keep my gym open without having to permanently close. It’s frustrating.”