Central Georgia gyms hopeful about latest executive order

Alonzo Osche

Governor Kemp’s executive order will take effect next Thursday, April 8.

MACON, Ga. — Gyms and fitness centers will get a break from COVID-19 restrictions under Governor Brian Kemp’s latest executive order.

A Macon gym and a fitness coach are hopeful about the new rules and feel they will help get their businesses back in shape.

Ashleigh Coats is the owner of Pure Barre, a fitness center in Macon. She says COVID-19 changed the way they had to operate.

“The pandemic definitely changed things up for us. As a team, we had to learn how to provide that same learning experience to clients, even though we didn’t have our clients in the studio,” Coats said.

Coats says the hands-on experience of the instructors and clients is a big part of their business.

“We no longer had hands-on, they were behind their computer screens at home and we didn’t have the same community aspect here, so that was tough,” she added.

She says right now, Pure Barre is operating at less than 50{20335960d828ac45ef5fde98a5aa7f4c1fb21de0715bafc997f46433d5bf3454} capacity, allowing only 13 clients in class at one time. Before, up to 28 clients could attend.

Ernest Butts Jr. teaches boxing and cardio classes at the Macon-Bibb Recreational Center. 

“The pandemic was brutal — really brutal on us,” Butts said.

Butts says before the pandemic, about 45 people could attend his class. Now, the limit is 25. 

Butts said, “In my profession, we do a lot of hands-on and up-in-your-face, but that was taken away.”

Both Coats and Butts say they’re excited to hear about Governor Kemp’s new executive order.

“I was glad this happened. Maybe now we can get back to the normal world,” Butts said.

Coats said, “We’re excited that they’re starting to release some of the mandates for us.”

Coats says even though social distancing is still required at fitness clubs, she is happy she can open her doors to more clients.

“We’re thankful that it’s a gradual process and thhat they’re not just ripping the Band-Aid off and showing people right back in,” she said.

Coats and Butts say they can’t wait until fitness centers can operate normally again, but Kemp’s brings them one step closer. 

Governor Kemp’s executive order will take effect next Thursday, April 8.

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