Amy Bueme of Catalyst Fitness would like Gov. Andrew Cuomo to approve a plan that would allow fitness clubs, gymnasiums and health clubs across the state to reopen after five months of being shuttered in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bueme and an alliance of other gym owners and operators in the region held a rally Thursday outside Catalyst Fitness’ Meyer Road center in Amherst to get the attention of Albany officials and educate them on how their businesses can be safely reopened by following common Covid-19 protocols, including using air filters, requiring their members to wear masks and requiring the cleaning of equipment after each use.
“We wanted to come together with our comprehensive plan that was sent into the governor’s office,” Bueme said.
She said the alliance hired Dr. Ravi Venkata Durvasule, a medical doctor of internal medicine with expertise in infectious diseases and infection control, to review the alliance’s plan.
“The doctor read our plan for reopening and said it was fantastic, spot on,” Bueme said. “The only thing he said he would recommend is that we don’t do those blue, paper masks.”
Bueme added that the doctor said those masks would become less effective as users breathed, spit and sweated into them while performing cardiovascular training activities.
“You have to take it, throw it out and put on a new one,” she said of the surgical masks.
Bueme said gym members would be required to carry more than one mask or use a cloth mask for superior safety.
Despite hiring a lobbyist to share its plan to reopen gyms and fitness clubs across the state, Bueme said the alliance has yet to hear from the governor.
“We have gotten no feedback, whatsoever, from his office, none,” she said.
“What we are doing is far beyond what any other place of business has been asked to do. We’ve cleaned all of our ceilings. We’ve cleaned out our air filtration. We have new filters,” Bueme added.
She said her business plans to practice social distancing, and even has the ability to do contact tracing.
“If someone were to get sick, we have the ability to trace, contact people, shutdown and clean and tell people to get tested if they are feeling sick, where no other business can do that. We are so far ahead of any other industry,” Bueme said.