LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — While malls across the state get ready to throw open their doors, other businesses excluded from phase four reopening are still in the dark. Matt Doheny, owner of ABC Sports and Fitness in Latham, bought dozens of medical grade filters and made the trek up to the sweltering hot roof to put them in.
“We have 44 brand new Merv 13 filters, which are used in hospitals surgery centers and are also known to filter out the COVID virus,” Doheny explains to NEWS10 ABC’s Mikhaela Singleton.
He did it all in the hopes this is what Governor Cuomo wants for gyms like his to finally reopen.
“He says the malls need to do it, I’m assuming that we are going to do it so we are trying to jump the gun and get ready to rock ‘n’ roll for him,” Doheny says.
He adds he was surprised when gyms, malls and movie theaters were all lumped together and removed from phase four reopening in New York, Cuomo citing unknown risks with HVAC systems. Doheny was even more shocked when only malls were given the okay on Wednesday.
“We have had no communication on our end from the governor’s office. There hasn’t been one phone call, one email, one bit of information,” he says.
NEWS10 reached out to Governor Cuomo’s office to ask why gyms and movie theaters are still on hold. A representative responded movie theaters have their own set of guidelines. As for gyms, the administration has more health concerns aside from the HVAC systems. When we asked what those are, we got no response.
“It’s been tough watching places like bars open up while they are very busy, not very much social distancing, not with the masks. We can control all that here in our club. We monitor every single person that comes in the gym. I can tell you what time they checked in, what time they left, we can tell you the occupancy codes. I mean we can really, truly regulate every inch and aspect of this business that other businesses can’t,” Doheny says.
In the meantime, Doheny says he won’t break the guidelines and open early.
“While it is frustrating not to reopen, the entire premise of our business is health and fitness and Cuomo is ultimately concerned with all of our health and safety. It would be even more frustrating to open and have to close again, he says.
He’s using standards set for other businesses as a guide to set up temperature checks, cleaning stations, and spacing and isolating machines.
“Being so late in the phases, we’ve been able to see what other businesses had to do in order for them to reopen their business. So going by their guidelines and making some adjustments to make it work for the gym, we’ve been able to kind of jump ahead and try to be as ready as possible for when we are allowed to reopen,” he says.