▶️ Gyms, restaurants prepare for a difficult 2-week ‘freeze’


XCEL Fitness has done everything they can to make their gym COVID-safe.

“We give clean towels to every single member every time they’re in the facility,” Owner Israel Love said. “We have tons of sanitary stuff. Every members wipes down everything they use.”

But they’ll still have to close down next Wednesday, along with every other gym in Oregon, due to a statewide two-week “freeze” mandated by Gov. Kate Brown on Friday.

“Unfair would be a light-hearted word for it,” Love said. “Fitness facilities — we are here for people’s health. In this whole COVID thing, it’s very important and that’s what we’re here for. I’m not sure why we’re not considered an essential business.”

Across town, Tread Tabata, a new workout facility near the hospital, is preparing to open and offer classes for the first time on Monday.

“We’re not running full classes,” Owner Audrey deRosa said. “We’re only at half-capacity. In addition, we have a state of the art air filtration system in place. We ordered extra weights and mats so that none of the equipment is ever shared in class. In between each class, we’re doing a deep clean.”

But they’ll have to close on Wednesday as well.

“I believe that people will still be interested regardless of when we open,” deRosa said. “This is just a minor hiccup in the grand master plan.”

Restaurants are also in a difficult spot after the mandate.

Cheri and Stephen Helt, owners of Zydeco, said they met with staff Friday to determine who should keep working during the next two weeks.

“It’s hard for me personally because the spread of COVID isn’t really coming from restaurants, it’s from social gatherings,” Stephen Helt said. “As you close down restaurants, our feeling is there’s going to be more social gatherings, which could compound where we’re trying to go with this. Our feeling is kind of mixed on this and it’s going to be really hard for all small businesses, especially restaurants, to keep going and recover from this.”

The Helts recommend supporting restaurants by ordering take-out and considering ordering Thanksgiving Dinner as a take-out meal.



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