Tulare’s Evolutions Gym opened May 26 while Kaweah Delta’s Lifestyle Center announced it was staying closed.
According to its press release, “The Lifestyle Center…announced today that it will not re-open until the State gives fitness facilities the green light to open amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Tulare Local Healthcare District (TLHD) co-owners of Evolutions, had the item “Discussion and Potential Action related to Reopening and Operation of Tenant Businesses located in Evolutions Plaza” on its agenda for the May 27 meeting.
The agenda item raised suspicions that the hospital board may vote to close the gym because it violated state law.
Board Chair Kevin Northcraft stated he wanted the item on the agenda because the opening came without state or county (public health department) permission. But just hours before the meeting the state approved Tulare County’s attestation to move into Phase 2.5 of reopening the economy.
“Since the action of the state this evening it seems things will resolve themselves pretty fast,” he said. “So I am not sure we need to spend a lot of time getting into arguments.”
In the expanded stage of Phase 2 churches, retail, dinning and salons can open, but not gyms. Nevertheless, Northcraft felt that the state was in transition and that the situation could change “in a day or two or by next week.”
Gyms will officially be allowed to open when the state moves into Phase 3.
Trustee Xavier Avila said he didn’t really care what plan the governor had approved. “This is our hometown. This is our community and we need to decide for ourselves what is good for us…..Keeping Evolutions Gym closed is not going to get our numbers down.”
The TLHD meeting started with a presentation by Evolution’s Manager Jane Presnell on how the last two days had gone.
Presnell said that four people were ready for the opening at 4:30am. In total they had 492 clients the first day. Before clients can use the equipment she said their temperature is checked and they have to answer a health survey and sign a COVID waiver. The process was quick and, at their busiest, people only had to wait two minutes at most.
To encourage social distancing, the gym marked off every other piece of cardio equipment and they removed the furniture from the atrium to discourage socializing. The goal was to allow people to work out but not linger in the facility. The Jacuzzi and sauna are closed, but Presnell did say that the exercise classes, pool, and childcare are open.
Presnell also said that two other gyms in Tulare had opened, Grizz’s Power House and Fit Republic.
Jodi Mason, a Tulare resident, commented on the presentation saying she went to Evolutions both days and said all the staff had masks on and were continually disinfecting. “They really stepped up to the plate in following the guidelines.”
“We had a great day yesterday…We are just glad to be open,” said Presnell.
COVID free Hospital
Adventist Site Administrator Sheri Pereira declared the hospital COVID free during her presentation on the status of hospital’s finances.
Ormonde said that the Tulare hospital does not admit COVID patients but sends them to Adventist in Hanford. The Tulare Hospital is ready though to handle COVID patients in their ICUs or if there is a surge of cases in the county.
She reported that about 10 people have come into the ER and tested positive for COVID but that their symptoms were not severe enough for hospitalizations and were sent home. With the exception of the ER the rest of the hospital is COVID free.