Central New York gyms hope to avoid state’s Orange Zone closure

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Governor Andrew Cuomo gave a strong warning to people in Syracuse during his press conference on Sunday, saying if high COVID-19 cases stay the same, more restrictions are on the way.

Syracuse is in the clear for now, but if numbers continue as they’re going, Gov. Cuomo warns part of the city could move to the “Orange Zone” later this week.

Counties go orange when the average COVID-19 positive test rate is between four and five percent over the span of seven days.

If an “Orange Zone” is declared, one of the restrictions impacts high-risk, non-essential businesses like gyms, barber shops, hair salons and nail salons.

A business that’s been struggling all along throughout this pandemic is gyms, and they’re not looking forward to a second shutdown.

J.J. Potrikus, the area manager of Blink Fitness in Onondaga County, is a firm believer that the health and wellness of the community is essential.

As the state tightens up COVID-19 zones, he’s getting worried that gyms will be forced to shutdown once again.

I feel as though lumping us into that “Orange Zone” is going to take away from our ability to continue to prove that we can do this and operate safely.

JJ Potrikus, Area Manager of Blink Fitness, Upstate NY

However, it’s not just the business owners and managers hoping to still operate. Members like Molly McElroy want the doors to stay open too.

“I think everybody really wants to remain open,” – Molly McElroy, Blink Fitness Member

Both Blink Fitness locations in Onondaga County are in the “Yellow Zone”, which means unless the COVID-19 numbers drastically change, both spots might close for a second shutdown.

The area manager says that’s something the franchise can’t afford.

Obviously, there’s a financial strain that goes along with that. You’re investing millions of dollars into the community for employees and into the health and wellness of the community. You’re building facilities like this to help the community get healthier and then they take away your ability to earn revenue. There’s obviously a struggle there.

JJ Potrikus, Area Manager of Blink Fitness, Upstate NY

“It’s disappointing to a lot of people. I know they had a great online presence when things shut down. They did a lot of virtual stuff, but it certainly just isn’t the same as being here physically,” McElory said.

But for now, it’s just a weight on their shoulders.

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