Level 3 restrictions updated for gyms, clears confusion for owners

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DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) updated the Safer at Home Level 3 restrictions for gyms to 25% capacity, 25 people, whichever is fewer.

Between teaching a barre class and checking in on her kid’s virtual learning, Katie Heaps spent her Tuesday scouring the internet for updates. 

The owner of Barre3 in the Denver Tech Center saw Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, and later Governor Jared Polis give updates on tighter restrictions around the Denver area due to the uptick in COVID-19 cases. Despite that, she was left with questions of how it impacted her fitness studio.

An uncertain feeling she was all too familiar with from the spring.

“You just have to get comfortable with being really uncomfortable, and knowing that things are going to change,” Heaps said. “We’ve had to pivot many many times. We closed our doors, we opened our virtual studio, we recorded classes, we figured out live stream classes.”

Tuesday, Denver announced it would be jumping up a tier in the state’s system for COVID restrictions to Level 3. Under initial CDPHE guidelines, that meant gyms could only hold virtual classes, or up to 10 people outside.

The initial released puzzled several small gym owners, who thought they had done a good job at managing fitness classes through the pandemic.

“We’ve been open for over four months and you know knock on wood we haven’t had a single exposure. We haven’t had to close for a single class, a single day,” Heaps said. “We have so much more control and the ability of oversight of our clients, of distancing, of mask enforcement, contact tracing.”

But late Tuesday, CDPHE updated it’s guidelines for gyms for the Level 3 tier, allowing for 25% capacity or up to 25 people. In a press release, the department says the change was due to input from stakeholders, local health agencies, and outbreak data.

Small business owners like Heaps got to breath a sigh of relief after holding their breath all of Tuesday, with a reenforced drive to bolster hygiene practices and social distancing during class.

“Closing in March was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do,” Heaps said. “Everything is at stake here for us financially, emotionally.”

Before CDPHE made the announcement, Mayor Hancock tweeted that gyms would stay in the Level 2 restrictions until the CDPHE said otherwise, which caused confusion for gym owners.

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