After being ordered closed for two months — and thanks to some modifications and ingenuity — Wayne Adams and his staff are back in business.
While fitness centers won’t be allowed to hold inside activities until Gov. Ralph Northam eases Virginia into phase two of a reopening plan, Adams moved some of his equipment outside and is holding several classes outdoors to get back to some sense of normalcy for Adams Total Fitness.
“We have taken about 20-30 pieces of equipment out of the hundred that I have, and put them on pallets and put two tents up and wheel it out in the morning and then wheel it back in in the evening,” Adams said.
On Friday, Virginia entered what’s known as phase one of Virginia Forward, a plan to ease the state out of restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Northam allowed salons and barbershops to open with restrictions and restaurants are able to offer outdoor dining at a 50% capacity.
Fitness centers are still ordered to remain closed, but the governor loosened restrictions for gyms to provide outdoor activities.
That was working for Adams until the rain rolled in Monday. With soggy weather in the forecast through the end of the week, Adams had to move the equipment back inside.
Even though he has tents set up, the equipment is vulnerable to the rain that blows in under the tent.
Adams has been able to hold classes outside, whether under the tents or under the awning in front of the business when the weather is questionable, or out in the grass or on the empty side of the parking lot when the weather is clear.
Adams held a karate class — the first in more than two months — outside on Monday evening. The students and instructors stood on the sidewalk under the awning in front of the building. While the rain kept them in this area, they were still able to spread out and take part in the class.
Adams says the other classes that they offer will also be held during this time such as kickboxing.
While the current operation for Adams is temporary, it is essential for him to be able to open back up fully inside to be able to remain in business.
“My business really relies on coming back in,” Adams said. “I have a women’s only gym that people rely on, a 24-hour gym that people rely on that I just can’t do,” he added.
Adams, like so many small business owners across the country, have seen significant loss since the coronavirus pandemic began. Adams believes he has lost close to half of his membership since the closing of the gym nearly two months ago.
The loss in members could be for various reasons such as those members losing their own jobs or the uncertainty of the situation, but either way it has taken a toll on Adams.
“It has been dropping like crazy,” Adams said.
Adams thought that once he reopened he would have some new members, but he says as of now things haven’t been much better. He’s currently accepting new memberships.
“Eventually once it gets back to normal, the membership will get back to normal, but it has to get back to normal in order for me to get some new people in,” Adams said.
Adams is grateful for the loyalty that a lot of his members have showed him during these most trying of times.
“The thing that I have been blessed with the most is the fact that the members have stuck with me,” he said. “When I offered to give them the discount to try to hold on they just said no take the whole thing. I have been blessed with that and that is what is keeping me alive,” he added.
While Adams is grateful for those that have stuck with him, he is really hoping that phase two begins soon. “The governor said two weeks from the 15th and I am relying on that because I can’t go much farther than that.”