RICHLAND, Wash. — It’s been six months since Gold’s Gyms in Tri-Cities had to close their doors and eventually furlough all of their employees. On Friday, Sept. 15, they will once again welcome members back in.
“So much excitement, and for me personally a lot of tears,” said Sharon Smith, general manager of the Richland Gold’s Gym, when asked about their reaction to the news.
It’s something that Smith thought might never happen.
“Originally we thought it was just going to be two weeks and then it was a couple months and then it went on to several months, at some points we were starting to lose hope,” she said.
After waiting and watching other businesses be able to open their doors, Smith felt she needed to take action. She reached out to the Tri-City Regional Chamber for help forming a coalition. She, along with gym and fitness studio owners around Tri-Cities, signed a letter addressed to Governor Inslee.
Two weeks later, gyms in Phase 1.5 were given the go ahead to reopen.
“When we heard the news we were ecstatic, and we were so excited to bring the staff back,” said Smith.
Angie Millet, operations manager and group fitness manager at Kennewick’s Gold’s Gym said she had been checking her computer every day for months, hoping for an update.
“I was elated to see the news,” said Millet. “I’m excited to get back in the gym and get back into the routine and get all the members back in.”
Members can expect some changes including new social distancing measures and extra sanitizing. No appointment to work out is necessary, but they will cap entry at 25% capacity.
“We hope they all come back and they feel comfortable coming back into this space, knowing that we’re keeping it clean for them and they have a safe environment,” said Smith.
Some amenities, like the Kids Club, won’t be available yet. Others, like the fitness classes, will start up again in some capacity.
They’ll also have new hours of operation, at least to start. Both the Richland and Kennewick location will be open Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 9 p.m and weekends from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For current members, billing will resume automatically starting Wednesday, Sept. 23.
“It’s been really challenging,” said Smith. “I’m so grateful for my job, for the people around me, to see the members again and to come back to somewhat of normal life again.”
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