MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Republican state lawmakers are urging the governor to allow gyms to reopen as soon as possible.

“It doesn’t add up that gyms should be closed,” said Representative Barb Haley of Red Wing (R).

Representative Haley and other House Republicans sent a letter to Governor Walz asking him to re-open fitness centers. Their argument is data-driven. Gyms fall into the “social setting category” for outbreaks, and Haley says the number of cases dropped each month- from August to November. That includes YMCAs.

“Out of 35 Y’s there were 30 cases that could be traced back to a Y, out of 1.5 million visits in that time frame. That’s a rate of .002%,” said Haley.

Even with those statistics, Minnesota Department of Health numbers show gyms are still third highest for social setting outbreaks, behind sports and weddings.

“It took us a long time to recover from the last shutdown,” said Cait Larsen, owner of Ethos Gym in Red Wing.

She’s worried that if her members aren’t allowed to return on Dec. 18, they may not come back.

“We’ve lost between 30% to 50% of our revenue from what we expected and we are only a two-year-old business, so we were in big-time growth mode,” said Larsen.

Michelle Berry and Jason Brown run Elite Fitness in Minnetonka.

“We are a smaller environment. It’s just Jason and I training in here one-on-one. In a sense we are not like big gyms with hundreds and thousands of people coming in and out,” said Berry.

They believe gyms can help with mental health during a pandemic.

“Especially heading into the winter months. We need some type of outlet to go and exercise and get away from the cold weather. We are ready, our clients are ready. We are hoping this comes to an end soon,” said Brown.

John Lauritsen