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Fitness club executive questions group workout restriction in Baltimore

Posted at 10:52 PM, Dec 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-09 23:14:02-05

BALTIMORE — One of the many restrictions Baltimore City Brandon Scott put in place to slow the spread is canceling group workouts.

Mark Miller, the Chief Operating Officer at Merritt Clubs, is part of a collation of around 90 fitness clubs around Maryland.

He said they’ve been in contact with the Governor's office and county leaders about the numbers at fitness clubs.

“We have 12 clubs that we share data with," Miller said. "We’ve had over 460,000-man hours and the risk of infection has been .006%. We’ve had 666,000 members check into our clubs over the last 7 months and it’s been a .003 infection that we’ve actually had reported to us.”

Miller said those numbers are no accident.

They’ve been hard at work making it as safe as possible to workout at their facilities.

They've spread out the machines, vigorously cleaned, and upgraded HVAC systems.

They also require and enforce mask wearing, unless vigorously working out.

When Scott announced group fitness classes were no longer allowed the phone immediately started to ring.

“We started getting cancellations and freezes and people are worried again and we haven’t had any issues in any of our classes," Miller said.

Miller said they average about 8-11 people in a group fitness a class anyway.

“We built shields in front of all of our group fitness instructors. That way it’s mitigating because it’s a Plexiglas shield. A lot of our members have said they felt safe in all that.”

The physical and mental benefits of working out are proven to reduce depression and suicide rates.

On top of the blow to the class attendees, the staff is now facing an uncertain future.

“We might have to potentially lay off some of our staff and put them on a leave of absence again and that means we’re hurting their livelihood.”