LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - Six months ago when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we visited Double Play Fitness Center in Lowville, which had to close abruptly along with other gyms in the area.
Friday, Sportscaster Rob Krone had a chance to return to Double Play and see how they’ve weathered the storm.
The Double Play Fitness Center has been frozen in time for the better part of 2020, with machines sitting silent and patrons with no place to get their daily physical activity.
”Obviously fitness and wellness, the enrichment programs that we’ve created for them, it’s a quality of life component that they count on. And for us not to be able to provide that service, it hurts everyone all the way around,” said Dan Myers, Executive Director and Founder of Double Play Fitness Center.
Double Play not only operates the fitness center, but a community center as well that also remains closed. It’s a community center that provided a summer rec program for 200 area youths that employed 20 area college kids during the summer.
”We save an average family, a family of 2 about almost $2,000 in daycare for that free program. They count on that program, and it’s an enrichment as well as it is for physical activity. So that void, you know, is felt all the way around,” said Myers.
The patrons of Double Play Fitness helped ease some of the financial burden by continuing to pay their membership fees during the closure.
”We decided as a board and as a non-profit, we wanted to give back to our members. So we were gonna give and grant whatever time we were off and closed we were gonna grant them memberships when they came back,” said Myers.
But Myers says they decided to max that incentive at 6 months because it wasn’t feasible to continue to do that.
With no money coming in from monthly membership fees, the not for profit has seen it’s share of financial hardship like other fitness centers and is doing its best to weather the storm.
”At this juncture you know, we’re seeking help from agencies and partners that we work with and we’ve got some phenominal partners in Pratt and Northam, which is local, the foundation, Northern New York Community Foundation which is phenomenal, the county has been great in contracting with us, so we’re reaching out with those organizations and right now it’s difficult,” said Myers.
What is most difficult for Myers is the lack of guidance from state officials regarding procedures needed to be put in place in order to allow facilities like Double Play to reopen and once again serve the community.
”We understand the depth and the fluidity of the situation, but we also feel that if we had a seat at the table, we think that we could come up with solutions. Some solutions for everyone, too. So everyone can kind of get back to that new normal they say,” said Myers.
When they get back to the new normal and are able to finally open their doors, Double Play has implemented a number of new features they have put in place to follow health and safety guidelines.
”We’ve put up shower curtains to separate all of the cardio equipment, we’ve added 3 or 4 cleaning stations, we’ve added gloves, we’ve added social distancing markers, we’ve added 6 stations outdoors to do completely outdoor group programs,” said Myers.
And while Myers remains optimistic, he says without state officials getting input from gyms and fitness centers and working hand in hand with them:
”We just don’t see an end in sight at this juncture.”