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Freeport gyms begin reopening


Freeport gyms are excited to be back in business after Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered that gyms in the state could begin reopening on Monday.

Gym facilities can reopen at 33 percent capacity, with face coverings required at all times and ventilation that meets state-mandated health guidelines.

Devon Church, manager of Freeport’s Retro Fitness, at 131 W Sunrise Highway, said he was glad gyms were finally able to reopen, with Retro Fitness opening on Aug. 26, even if it is at a limited capacity. 

He said Retro Fitness has spaced out its equipment and workout stations to accommodate the new regulations and help their customers adhere to social distancing. 

As everyone stayed indoor during quarantine, Church hoped the shutdown would not last long, but given how quickly the coronavirus spread, he accepted prolonged closure of Retro Fitness. 

“It would’ve been easy for it to spread in a place where everyone’s working up a sweat, so I understand why we had to stay shut for as long as we did,” Church said. “But we’re back now, and the need is greater than ever for people to workout and start exercising again.”

Church added that while it may not be ideal to workout with a mask on, it is the more favorable alternative as other states have seen upticks in Covd-19 cases after rolling back face mask and social distancing regulations.     

Tom Himmelberg, owner of Freeport Fitness Solutions, at 27 Hanse Ave., said he was also eager to have his business up and running again. 

Himmelberg, who has operated Freeport Fitness Solutions for 11 years, said he was following all the governor’s announcements, waiting for the gyms to open up as the date kept being moved back throughout the summer. 

While he’s able to reopen at a limited capacity, Himmelberg said he was worried about other businesses who have had to continue to pay for rent and other expenses while not being able to make a profit for more than five months. 

“We’re operating at 33 percent capacity, so our profits won’t be the same, but we still have to pay all our expenses,” Himmelberg said,” and those don’t change.” 

Himmelberg said that he’ll be able to open up one-on-one instructions again at his facility once he gets the all clear from the Village of Freeport, as per the governor’s orders.    

He also hopes to offer his kids dancing gymnastics program by the fall. 

Dealing with expenses has been an obstacle for Kathryn Gawrych, of Freeport Ninja Academy, who first opened her facility in January. 

Gawrych said she lost a lot of revenue due to the pandemic, but she was able to recoup some of her losses when the facility was allowed to partially reopen in July through its summer camp program for kids. 

“It’s been a real challenge for us, and we’ve seen a lot of hesitation that people have in coming back,” Gawrych said. “It’s a relief to reopen, but it’s frustrating that we can’t open at full capacity just yet.” 

The Freeport Recreation Center’s Fitness Center will also reopen on Sept. 1. The Fitness Center includes several exercising machines, free weights and benches.