Report: Whitmer expected to announce gyms, indoor entertainment reopening – News – Holland Sentinel

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HOLLAND — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to announce this week another round of reopening for businesses still closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, including movie theaters, workout gyms and bowling alleys, among others, according to a report.

Paul Egan of The Detroit Free Press reported Monday Whitmer’s announcement could be made as soon as Wednesday, Sept. 2.

The industries have been shuttered in Michigan since mid-March because of the pandemic. Initially, many other businesses like bars, dine-in restaurants, golf courses and commercial construction firms also were closed, but have been allowed to reopen with provisions.

Bowling alleys, gyms, theaters and other similar establishments are among the last still closed in most areas of the state, but Whitmer is expected to give them the green light — albeit with social distancing and sanitation protocols. Reopening could happen shortly after Labor Day, per the report.

In workout facilities, face coverings are expected to be required for employees and patrons moving around the gym when six-feet social distance cannot be maintained, per the Free Press report.

Other states which have allowed gyms to reopen have capped the maximum occupancy well under typical numbers to allow for additional social distancing space. The same goes for movie theaters.

On Tuesday, however, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive, told Detroit-based radio station WDET no decisions had been made about reopening gyms, citing a lack of a vaccine or effective treatment for COVID-19.

“I don’t think the governor has made any decisions there yet,” Khaldun said. “I can tell you the virus has not changed at all. There’s still no vaccine. There’s still no approved antiviral treatment. We’re still seeing outbreaks across the state.”

Whitmer said Aug. 25 that she was “not going to be bullied” into making a decision on reopening businesses still closed because of the pandemic, and instead would rely on public health data to make a decision.

A spokesperson from Whitmer’s office declined to confirm the report, and reiterated that the state will rely on medical guidance before making any decisions.

According to state health data, the seven-day average for new cases per day per million residents was 40.6 cases, which is considered “high risk” by the state’s own metrics.

A number of gyms and indoor entertainment centers in Holland have been anxiously awaiting the go-ahead from Whitmer.

Local gym owners were prepared to open their doors Thursday, June 25, after a federal judge ordered the facilities could reopen despite the current executive order keeping them closed.

Orangetheory Fitness in The Shops at Westshore took a full week to retrain its staff members in preparation.

“We’re taking this as seriously as we can,” said co-owner Jonathan Heit.

“We’re keeping the safety of our members, our staff and, ultimately, the community, our number one priority. At the end of the day, it’s important that we stay firm and continue to be healthy in the safest way we can.”

But the night before gyms were slated to reopen across the state, a federal appeals court agreed to delay implementation of the judge’s order.

It’s been an especially difficult year for Joe Nelis, owner of Nelis’ Dutch Village and The Lost City. While the village was allowed to reopen in mid-June, The Lost City — an indoor arcade center with laser tag, mini-bowling, air hockey and mini-golf — remained shuttered.

“There’s certainly a limit to how long a business can just stay closed,” Nelis told The Sentinel in June. “We’ve been closed more this year than we’ve been open. And when you’re running your finances in the negative, that can only run for so long.”

Phil Huffman, owner of Bam Entertainment Center, has had cleaning protocols in place for weeks in anticipation of reopening.

“We pride ourselves in being a very clean entertainment center to begin with,” Huffman told The Sentinel in June.

“And we’ll be that much cleaner when we reopen. In our arcade, games are pretty close together. So, we’re using two of our escape rooms to allow for social distancing between arcade games.”

The expected announcement is also good news for Urban Air Adventure Park, which is making progress toward its opening date in The Shops at Westshore.

The new 32,485-square-foot attraction will feature trampolines, dodgeball courts and rock climbing, according to information presented at a Holland Township Planning Commission meeting in September 2019.

Exhibits will be geared toward families with children in their mid-teens and younger, with options to host birthday parties. The business will have a cafe in addition to areas for basketball, gymnastics, virtual reality, bumper cars, a zip line and a foam pit.

The business has been posting more frequent photos and updates via Facebook and Instagram over the past several weeks, though an opening date has not been announced.

Urban Air Adventure Park has not returned several requests for comment on the opening.

— Contact reporters Arpan Lobo at alobo@hollandsentinel.com and Cassandra Lybrink at clybrink@gannett.com. Follow them on Twitter @ArpanLobo and @CassLybrink.

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