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Planet Fitness reopens doors ahead of governor’s announcement

SALISBURY — Several customers began gathering outside of Planet Fitness’ doors at 4:45 a.m. on Tuesday morning in anticipation of the gym opening for the first time in several months.

Salisbury’s Planet Fitness is one of many locations that opened up across North Carolina on Tuesday. Planet Fitness closed its doors in March in compliance with Gov. Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 120, which also closed movie theaters, barber shops and other businesses.

The fitness chain has been planning on reopening for weeks, despite Cooper’s phase two restrictions on gyms still being in place. Like some other gyms in North Carolina and in Salisbury, Planet Fitness is citing the medical exemption to Cooper’s phase two order. 

“Yes, that is why we’re opening,” said Zachary Horton, general manager for the Planet Fitness in Salisbury. “It’s under the attorney general’s letter.”

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein sent out a letter in June stating that fitness facilities can be used by those who need it for medical purposes.

On Aug. 5, Cooper extended phase two of his executive order, which does not permit gyms to open, until Sept. 11. However, Horton said he anticipated that Cooper will open gyms statewide during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. Cooper followed through and announced “phase 2.5.”

“From my understanding, we are expecting him to, most likely, which is more or less ironic, to allow gyms statewide to open up,” Horton said. “If that happens, it simply puts us under the state mandate of the whole situation rather than being under the attorney general’s letter. That means we would run at 30% capacity, which for us is 120 people. Even with that, we would still be ok.”

Horton said that they sent out an email to members three or four days ago letting them know that Planet Fitness would be reopening.

Salisbury’s Planet Fitness has instituted several measures to promote social distancing and safe health practices, including marking off every other piece of equipment, removing some of the benches from the workout floor and requiring all patrons to wear a mask while not actively working out. Employees are also cleaning equipment every 20 minutes.

Horton was excited to see his gym resume business.

“We are absolutely stoked. Really. We’re head over heels because we’ve waited so long to provide a sense of community as well as help in this time,” Horton said. “We wanted to be able to provide that to all of our members as soon as possible.”

 

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