Gym Defies State Order, Opens For Business

By: Alan Pollock

Topics: COVID-19

Bodystrong Fitness in South Chatham opened for business Wednesday in defiance of the state closure.

SOUTH CHATHAM — Defying the state closure, Bodystrong Fitness opened for business today. The owner of the gym said the business needs to make money to survive.

“We opened against the governor’s order because we have to at this point. It’s been two months,” majority owner Colin Eitelbach said. “I have to open for my family’s sake.”

Under the phased reopening plan announced by Gov. Charlie Baker Monday, businesses will open in four phases. Fitness centers and gymnasiums are slated to open in Phase 3, which will happen no sooner than June 29, provided that there is a continued decline in the number of cases of COVID-19. If numbers don’t decline as quickly as predicted, the next phases of reopening could be postponed.

“They’re talking July. It’s too long,” Eitelbach said.

Not long after the business opened, the town health department received a complaint and visited the business to investigate. Officials told Eitelbach that he had to close his doors, and he refused to do so. He said the health department representative didn’t accept his invitation to enter the property to see the special precautions he put in place to protect customers.

“She has a job to do, and we totally respect that,” he said. Every other machine has been turned off to encourage social distancing, and each machine has its own spray bottle of sanitizer. Customers and staff are temperature-checked with a thermal scanner before they are allowed to enter, he added.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Eitelbach said he intends to remain open in Chatham, and was investigating the possibility of opening the business’ Orleans location as well. He said Chatham Health Department officials warned him that he would be subject to a fine of $300 each day he stays open against the governor’s order, and that the matter was being referred to the state for further enforcement. He said officials may seek a court injunction to force him to close the business.

We’ll have more in the next edition of The Cape Cod Chronicle.