ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — The owners of a local gym are facing backlash for opening their doors before the governor’s orders are lifted.
Gorilla House gym in Altoona and Huntingdon reopened on May 1st.
“Our backs were against the wall, and we wanted to make sure that our employees were taken care of,” owner Angela Ross said.
Angela and Ray Ross, owners of Gorilla House Gym, said they closed their doors on March 19th.
As the governor continued to extend the shutdown, their business took a hit.
“We lost a hundred memberships in April. The majority of our employees have no received unemployment compensation. We decided to open because of those reasons,” Ross said.
Inside their location in Altoona, there are signs on every other machine, trying to maintain 6-feet of social distancing.
There are also sanitizing stations, and employees go around every 30 minutes wiping down every surface.
Despite their safety precautions, the gym is still not allowed to be open.
“It is not the right thing to do for gyms to open. We are concerned about the spread of COVID-19 in facilities like that, particularly in red zones,” Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said.
Officers from the Code Enforcement Office and Altoona Police Department cited the owners for being open.
“It’s out of our control, and the governor gave an order, and we still have to uphold that order,” Altoona Police Sergeant Matthew Plummer said.
Despite being cited everyday they are open, Ross said they’re doing what’s right for them and their family.
“That’s what everyone keeps saying. ‘We’re all in the same boat together.’ No. We’re in the same storm. Everybody’s boat is different, and we were hanging on by a buoy so we just made the decision to try and row a little harder,” she said.
Gorilla House Gym is following the example from Lowe’s and Walmart with how many people are allowed inside: five people for every 1000-square feet.
The Gorilla House Gym locations in both Blair and Huntingdon counties are open.