By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Sharman Watt opened the Central Oregon Gymnastics Academy around 23 years ago.
“I have put my entire life into this,” Watt said. “I started this place when I was 21.”
She isn’t sure how much longer she can keep it open.
“We’re at the end of it,” Watt said. “I can’t do it anymore. I don’t have any more funds. We have nothing coming in.”
Because Deschutes County remains under the state’s “Extreme Risk” for COVID transmission, ocal gyms must stay closed through at least Jan. 28.
For Watt, it doesn’t make much difference if they’re open or not.
“Even if I do open, it’s just not going to be enough,” Watt said. “There is so much going on and people don’t feel safe.”
Some gyms in Oregon are violating Gov. Kate Brown’s mandate and opening their doors.
On Tuesday, OSHA fined a Salem fitness center more than $120,000 for willfully ignoring COVID rules and staying open.
Watt won’t defy Brown’s orders. Instead, some of her clients are working to raise money for the gym through a GoFundMe.
“I would love to see more state and federal aid come in, but I don’t see that happening,” Watt said. “That’s why my team parents and why I let them reach out to the community because honestly it’s the only way.”
Audrey deRosa, the owner of the new fitness facility Tread Tabata, also won’t defy Brown’s mandate, even though she worries for her business’s future.
“I am extremely worried about finances in the next few months,” deRosa said. “At some point I won’t be able to sustain what I’m doing.”
DeRosa opened the studio in November right before gyms shut down, which has made getting financial support a challenge.
“To qualify for some of that state and federal aid, you need to show existing, previous revenue,” deRosa said. “As a new business, I don’t have any previous revenue, so I don’t qualify for any of those things.”
Tread Tabata is offering free workout classes online. Meanwhile, deRosa hopes Brown will let her start up in-person classes soon.
“Every single time Governor Brown speaks, I am tuning in live, because my livelihood depends on it,” deRosa said.