MERIDIAN TWP. – Police have issued a citation to a Meridian Township gym that opened for business Thursday despite a last-minute federal court ruling that delayed the reopening of gyms in Michigan.
Crunch Fitness in Meridian Township opened at 5 a.m. Thursday. Owner Adam Hourani said there had been a great turnout Thursday morning.
“We want to get people in here and back to working out,” he said. “Members have not stopped coming in and thanking us for opening.”
Someone answered the phone and immediately hung up when a State Journal reporter attempted to call after the citation was issued. A second attempt went to the gym’s voicemail, which is full.
Powerhouse Gym 24/7 was also open Thursday. Two managers declined to talk to a State Journal reporter over the phone around noon or to a photographer at the gym shortly after.
The gym agreed to close at 5 p.m. after conversations with the Meridian Township Police Department, a department spokesman said, and will avoid a citation.
A federal appeals court delayed implementation of an order by U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney in Kalamazoo that would have allowed indoor gyms to reopen Thursday. Judges on the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued their ruling shortly before 9 p.m. Wednesday, saying Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order to keep gyms closed needed to remain in place while an appeal is heard.
Maloney ruled last week that gyms could open, saying the state hadn’t adequately explained why they had to stay closed while other businesses could reopen.
Whitmer appealed Maloney’s decision. Her attorneys argued that letting gyms reopen could create “the likelihood of an unworkable patchwork” of rules for businesses and regions across the state, which could lead to the erosion of the plan to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Hourani said he was aware of the judge’s decision to delay reopening but decided it was in the best interest of members and employees to open the gym back up.
Meridian Township Police Lt. Rick Grillo said officers gave Crunch Fitness “numerous opportunities to comply with the order” before issuing the citation, which is a misdemeanor.
Grillo wrote in an email that it would have been the department’s preference for “management at Crunch Fitness to comply with the order for the safety of their staff and their patrons.”
The department is gave Powerhouse the chance to do just that, he said, and they did so.
Management at Crunch Fitness crafted a 30-page COVID-19 readiness plan, Hourani said, and they are doing everything they can to ensure people’s safety.
Masks must be worn when entering and exiting the building, Hourani said. Beyond that they are recommended, but not required. Staffers are wearing masks at all times.
They have added cleaning and hand sanitizer stations and blocked off every other piece of equipment so members can maintain social distancing, Hourani said.
Group fitness classes will remain outdoors for members, according to a Facebook post. Lockers, showers, tanning and hydro beds will be open, but the sauna remains closed.
The gym also added floor graphics directing traffic patterns to maintain social distancing on the floor.