Local gyms opening after Safer at Home order struck down

Published: May. 18, 2020 at 5:30 PM CDT
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Fitness enthusiasts are headed back to gyms across the Chippewa Valley after months of not being able to workout in-person at their favorite spots.

Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the Safer at Home order extension, paving the way for businesses to reopen, including gyms. Scott Schimmel owns 3D Fitness in Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls and says he opened his gyms on Friday, May 15.

“I obviously conferred with my insurance company, legal council and we watched what the health department put out as well,” Schimmel says. “We're kind of above and beyond what they are asking us to do, so I wasn't too worried about that.”

He says 3D is encouraging people to wash their hands before and after working out, maintain social distancing and cleaning equipment after using it. He also says members are able to wear masks in the gym if they are comfortable doing so.

“Just because we are back up and operating does not mean that we are all safe. We will be watching everything and asking people to use these practices.”

One of the first people in the 3D Fitness gym when it opened Friday was Wynonah Fila of Eau Claire. She says when gyms closed, it threw off her daily routine.

“I think it opened at 9 o'clock and I was at the door ready to go” Fila says. “I was so excited, I kind of feel like a kid on Christmas morning.”

While some gyms are back open, others like CrossFit Chippewa Falls, are waiting until next week for a special workout and re-opening. According to owner Allison Short, the decision to wait was based on a workout that honors LT. Michael P. Murphy, a Navy Seal who was killed in Afghanistan.

“We usually do a big workout called Murph every year and instead of opening a few days before, we decided to open Memorial Day,” Short says. “We spent the last 2 months cleaning the gym. My mom has been in every single day for like two hours cleaning the ceilings, the floors.”

Staff members with both 3D and CrossFit Chippewa Falls say they're glad to be able to offer members a safe place to get in shape.

“Sometimes coming to a class is the only thing they do for themselves for an entire day,” Short says.

"For a lot of people, this is like therapy," Schimmel says.