Let Private Gyms in Oregon Re-Open Now

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Dear Governor Brown, Senator Merkley, Senator Wyden, Congresswoman Bonamici, and Mayor Wheeler,
 
My name is Tony Gracia, and my wife and I are co-owners of a small business located in Portland, OR.  The name of our business is Industrial Strength, and we provide fitness coaching and martial arts instruction to our members.  Operationally we function by appointment only, and do both 1:1 personal training and small group classes.  To clarify, we are not open to the public and do not operate in such a way that people come and go as they please; we are exclusively by appointment (including classes, which must be reserved ahead of time and have a maximum capacity).
 
I am writing you in hopes of conveying two points:
 
1.     As of now it seems as if all types of gyms and fitness studios are lumped together in Governor Brown’s Executive Order 20-12, and I would like to make a case that large “health clubs” (like 24 Hour Fitness or L.A. Fitness) and small private facilities like mine are operationally different, and should be treated separately with regard to being allowed to operate / re-open.
 
2.     I am concerned that there are some inconsistencies in the way that different businesses are being treated, including which ones are allowed to stay operational and which ones have been ordered to cease operations.  I will cite specific examples later on to help clarify exactly what I mean.  I know all of you value fairness and equality amongst all Oregonians, and with that in mind I hope you share my concern about these inconsistencies. 
 
Regarding item #1, I would like to suggest that small fitness facilities like mine can offer 1:1 personal training by appointment just as safely as any other appointment-based service, such as physical therapy, chiropractic, or dentistry.  In fact, I believe that there is a strong case that personal fitness training is actually safer for all parties than the above mentioned activities, because the nature of the aforementioned services is most often “hands on” where the service provider comes into physical contact with the patient, as opposed to personal training which is almost always “hands off” and the instructor can easily maintain physical distance from their trainee.  In an appointment-only setting it is easy to manage what equipment is used by each trainee to ensure no cross-contamination, and to disinfect all equipment used by the trainee before they exit the premises and the next appointment arrives.  Additionally, when operating by-appointment-only it is easy to manage the number of people in the facility at any given time (including setting limits on how many appointments can being going on simultaneously), and to ensure that we comply with all guidelines set forth with regard to how much physical space to keep between individuals.   
 
What’s more, I would like to bring to your attention that while some exercise options do exist for people even without access to gyms (such as going for a walk), the options are limited and there are many people who do not have facilities or instruction that meets their health needs due to the closure of gyms like mine.  For example, we work with a number of individuals whose doctors have diagnosed them with low bone density and are at high risk of bone fractures, which can be fatal in some circumstances.  The most important treatment to help combat low bone density is strength training, particularly with weights heavy enough to challenge the muscles and bones so that they adapt and get stronger and more resilient.  The majority of people, especially seniors, do not have these weights available to them in their homes, and are 100% reliant on gyms like mine for both access to the weights and also professional supervision to ensure they are training with the weights safely and effectively.  If these individuals do not get access to our services soon, I am concerned that their physical strength and bone density may deteriorate to the point of it being life threatening.  I know that a top priority of our public servants right now is to take care of the most vulnerable people in our population, and so I feel obliged to bring this to your attention, and in doing so I hope you consider modifying the current guidelines to make sure these vulnerable individuals have access to the facilities and instruction they require to stay healthy.
 
Regarding item #2, I know that both the State of Oregon as well as the City of Portland pride themselves on fair and equal treatment of their respective residents and businesses, and so I would like to bring to your attention what appear to be some inconsistencies in the current regulations.  Please refer to the article linked below for my first example.
 
https://katu.com/sports/trail-blazers/portland-trail-blazers-to-reopen-practice-facility-for-voluntary-workouts-friday
 
First, as you can see from the article it appears that the Portland Trail Blazers are opening up their practice facility starting tomorrow.  I am absolutely a fan of the Trail Blazers, and even had partial season tickets at one point, and I think it is great that they are allowed to resume practice and continue their development.  At the same time, I cannot help but notice the inconsistency that they will be doing their training and practices in a “gym,” and that it seems as if “gyms” should be closed under Governor Brown’s Executive Order.  I am sure this was not intentionally meant to be a double standard, however it is concerning that one group would seem to be given certain permissions that are not extended to all Oregonians, and in the spirit of fairness and equality I hope some clarification can be provided.  I would imagine that if they have in fact been given permission to re-open, that it is because they are a private facility that is not open to the public and they are in full control of who participates and can abide by certain safety protocols.  Assuming that to be the case, I would ask that you circle back to point #1 that I made above, and please consider allowing all gyms that can operate in a similar manner to re-open effective immediately, since there is now precedent set for that with our beloved Trail Blazers and we want all Oregonians to be treated fairly and equally.
 
One additional concern that I have with regard to inconsistency is that Governor Brown has set precedent that certain businesses must cease operations “to the extent that they are open without appointment” (quoted from Executive Order 20-12, page four, in reference to art galleries), but they seem to be permitted to operate on a by-appointment basis.  My hope is that because Governor Brown has already made a distinction between businesses operating “by appointment” as compared to “open without appointment” that this same distinction be extended to all business that can operate by-appointment, and not just certain selected ones.  With this in mind, I suggest that it would seem fair and consistent that gyms like mine would be allowed to re-open, at least on a by-appointment-only basis.
 
I sincerely thank you for taking the time to read this and consider my points.  If you have any questions or would like to further discuss with me, please feel free to contact me (my contact information was provided to you directly by email).
 
Yours in strength,
 
-Tony Gracia