Gyms and fitness studios get ready to reopen Monday

SPOKANE, Wash. – Just in time to start New Year’s resolutions, some Washington gyms will be reopening soon.

Gyms have been closed for nearly a month, but starting Monday, they can reopen under Governor Jay Inslee’s Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery plan.

Teaching a workout class in an empty room, in front of a camera and light, is business for Core4Collective right now.

“This opening, closing, reopening, closing has been a little confusing for us to figure out, navigating what we should be doing each time,” said Janelle Brennan, the owner of the Core4Collective.

READ: Healthy Washington: Gov. Inslee announces new reopening plan, resumption of some activities 

The recently announced plan is still a little confusing for them.

The plan says low risk sports like dance, gymnastics and climbing are allowed for practice and training in “stable groups” of no more than five.

Fitness centers and facilities should only have appointments and each session is limited to a max of 45 minutes.

The new rules also say only one person per room or per 500 sq ft for large facilities.

Brennan says she’s not sure if that means there could be multiple groups of five in her studio, or if she is only allowed to have one person per sq feet, which would only let two customers be there at a time.

“What’s been posted on his website leaves a little gray area for us and we could interpret it either way. But, we want to make sure what we’re interpreting is the right thing,” Brennan says.

She reached out to the governor’s office for more clear instructions, hoping that she could open this week. The new plan and phase starts Monday, but she won’t know exactly for sure when she will open yet.

“Navigating this whole thing as a business owner has been challenging just because of the uncertainty day-to-day,” she said. “But, as a community member and as an integral part of our community, the most important thing for us is that people feel safe, people are healthy and that we can return to our normal lives as soon as possible once it’s safe to do so.”

RELATED: Here’s where eastern Washington counties are in terms of the state’s reopening plan

The governor’s office says more clear guidance will be updated online in the next couple of days. In the meantime, Brennan will continue to hold virtual classes. She says they’re going better than expected this winter.

Holding virtual sessions is something Brennan wanted to do in the future for her business, but the pandemic pushed her to do it now.

“Every day I feel like we’re getting better and better at what we’re doing,” she said. “We kind of feel like we’re hitting our groove, a little more comfortable in that digital space.”

While Core4Collective was able to continue classes virtually during the recent shutdown, the Spokane Boxing Gym had to be closed for nearly a month.

Owner Rick Welliver is ready to hear some gloves hit those punching bags.

“Every opening day we’ve had so far feels like a grand opening because I get to see my family, I get to see my customers,” he said.

On Friday, Welliver had his whole gym sanitized by a fogger, thanks to one of his customers. Sanitizer was sprayed everywhere.

“Sanitized every inch of the gym, every surface,” he said. “We’re trying our best to stay clean, keep everyone healthy.”

Welliver says he’ll start slow, saying his gym will be able to have 8 to 10 people working at the same time in total.

“I don’t need much more than 15 people in the gym to function well, so we’ll have to sacrifice,” he said.

Welliver is following every safety protocol and every rule the governor puts out to ensure he – and other businesses – can stay open.

“People’s livelihoods are at stake here. This is my dream, this is my business, this is my home,” he said.

Welliver says he is about two or three months away from his dreams, his business going downhill.

Before, he thought it’d be okay to have a three month “buffer” to get him through tough times, but now he feels like it’s three years.

He says it’s thanks to his customers and the community for being patient and working with him through all of this.

“Just follow the rules. You can’t complain about what we’re missing out on and what’s not happening, when you’re sitting in front of a group of people without your mask on,” he added.

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