'Just like Christmas:' Gyms across Florida reopen under 'full phase one' plan

Gyms across Florida were allowed to re-open Monday and many were quick to jump back into their old fitness routines. 

“It’s just like Christmas to be back and see all the people here get back to our lifestyle,” said Jason Rayz, a member at Powerhouse Gym in Tampa.  “The truth is, you get the best workouts inside these of these gyms.” 

Until today, gyms and other fitness studios were forced to sit out the initial phase one re-opening, even as other close-contact businesses like barbershops and nail salons were eventually given the OK. 

That led to financial loss and frustration, and even inspired crowds of protesters. 

“Florida was one of the last states to allow the gyms to open. We were concerned about that,” said Powerhouse co-owner John Sanguinetti.  

RELATED: Gymnastics studios preparing for a slow re-open on Monday

Inside Tampa’s Powerhouse Gym, signs remind clients to social distance, cardio machines are limited, and cleaning continues throughout the day.  As for masks, 

Powerhouse says use is optional for guests.  We found most decided to go without them altogether. 

“I usually do wear a mask but coming here and working out, I need to get focused. I can’t be fearful of what could be,” said Matthew Schwab a Powerhouse member.

“I feel very safe,’ Taylor Collignon said. “I feel like everyone’s wiping down the machines well, everyone’s taking precautions.”

But even so, will gyms be able to stay coronavirus-free into the future?  That remains to be seen.  For now, re-opening is a like weight lifted off the industry and its members.

“We're just so happy for our members, for the community and for all of us here,” added Sanguinetti.

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to covid-19@flhealth.gov. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

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