Newport gym questions why state- mandated safety measures aren’t enough to stay open

East Bay

NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — The owners of a Newport business are expressing concern about the upcoming statewide “pause,” saying another shutdown during their most profitable time of year is going to be devastating for them.

Just one month ago, Studio Barre Newport owners Kelsey and Tanis Collard were crediting the state for helping them reopen. But now, they say Gov. Gina Raimondo’s two-week pause could force fitness studios and other small businesses to close for good.

“It’s frustrating and honestly, just a little defeating,” Kelsey said.

Like countless local businesses, the studio is preparing to shut down for the mandated pause beginning Nov. 30.

With the studio already taking a financial hit, the owners say it’s time Raimondo and the state provide relief for small businesses, something expected to be announced during the governor’s briefing on Wednesday.

“If they have funding they can be sharing with small businesses, then absolutely you need to be sharing it,” Tanis said. “You can’t just tell us to close for two weeks, because two weeks is an enormous hit.”

The Collards worked with the state to make out-of-pocket adjustments to their studio in order to reopen in June, and wonder why the safety measures aren’t enough to remain open.

“We are going above and beyond and spent thousands of dollars to stay in business and keep our clients safe,” Kelsey said.

Still, they will be forced to pause operations and now question how that decision was made.

“I would love to see the data that shows where the outbreak is,” Tanis said.

Studio Barre Newport is not alone. A spokesperson for Planet Fitness tells 12 News there is “no evidence of cases being contracted at the gym. Access to fitness centers is also more critical now than ever as physical activity plays and important role in maintaining a healthy immune system.”

After closing their business for nearly three months, the Collards say they are worried the pause could extend into the winter and fear what additional closures would mean for their livelihood.

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