▶️ Should gyms be closed? Owners say no, health officials say yes

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By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

Sisters Athletic Club has been closed four out of the last nine months.

Owner Tate Metcalf doesn’t believe all gyms should reopen, but the ones with the right equipment and taking the right precautions should be allowed to operate.

“We have that technology in our facilities,” Metcalf said. “We have the technology to spray down the equipment for surface, we do that systematically throughout the day. We can limit the occupancy rate, and that’s been a study proven.”

Based upon a one week study by the University of Oregon’s Consulting Group, Metcalf claims gyms don’t pose the same risk as retail, bars, and restaurants.

However, Morgan Emerson, with Deschutes County Public Health, says that can’t be said for Central Oregon.

“Looking at our data from October and the early part of November, we saw that gyms and fitness facilities were associated with three outbreaks,” Emerson said. “That was our second highest total number of cases associated with a sector below long-term care facilities.”

Metcalf says he’s most concerned about the health of his older members.

Not in regard to COVID-19, but their need for exercise.

“When I talk to the Oregon Health Authority, they’re like, well just have your people exercise outside,” Metcalf said. “That doesn’t work in Central Oregon for some of my older clients when it’s snowing.”

Because Deschutes County is in the extreme risk category, Public Health says there are following the guidance of the Oregon Health Authority.

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