Some Austin-area gyms plan to reopen on May 18, others to remain closed

Earlier this week, Gov. Greg Abbott announced gyms will be allowed to reopen May 18th. Some gyms are gearing up to open their doors while others still think it's best to stay closed.

For gyms like South Austin Gym, the experience will be a little different. “From the day that we closed, we've been thinking of ways to reopen,” said CEO Randy Palmer.

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For over a month and a half, Palmer has been anticipating the day he could open his gym back up. “Nothing has stopped us for more than a day or two being open. Moving, construction, we've always found a way to stay open, but this was the one, the leveler,” said Palmer.

Abbott announced Texas gyms can reopen at 25 percent capacity May 18th under certain guidelines, like disinfecting gym equipment after each use and maintaining proper social distancing between customers. Palmer plans to adhere to all those rules with a few of his own added in.


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“When we reopen, you know, we'll be reopening as a hybrid, partially online, partially in person, we do know that some members won't be able to come back in-person, some members will be in the risk group,” he said.

Palmer says if guests want to physically come to the gym, they'll have to sign up for a specific day and time to come in. That process will allow employees at South Austin Gym to keep track of how many people are in the building. Equipment will also be cleaned after each use.

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“I feel like this entire situation has caused us to up our game, and the adaptation makes us stronger in the long run,” said Palmer.

Not all gyms have decided to open their doors.

“We've decided that it's the best thing to do for our community, our staff to just say, for now, we're going to be closed indefinitely, unfortunately, with COVID still very present in our community,” said Jessica Phillips, co-owner of Fit and Fearless Gym. “We've been in the Austin community for over 19 years and our main program has always been Krav Maga which is literally hands-on combat."

It's that reason they say they don't believe opening back up May 18 is the best option for their employees and members’ safety.


“It's one thing to go in and do bis and tris at Gold's Gym. It's another thing to come in and do self-defense fitness and fight training,” said co-owner Brandon Phillips.

Both gyms have been offering online classes during their forced shutdown. South Austin Gym is ready to see their members walk through the door.

“There's a lot of people who have been members of the gym for 15 years, 20 years, some longer so we miss them,” said Palmer.


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