Gyms, small businesses devastated by Gov. Wolf's latest COVID mitigation measures

SPRINGFIELD, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Pennsylvania moved Thursday to temporarily halt school sports and other extracurricular activities, close gyms, theaters and casinos, and ban indoor dining at restaurants as state officials respond to the worsening pandemic with a series of new restrictions.

A day after revealing his own COVID-19 diagnosis, Gov. Tom Wolf announced the widely expected clampdown in what he said was an effort to slow the accelerating spread of the coronavirus and prevent hospitals from becoming overrun.

Gym operators like Mike Ranck, the CEO of the Community YMCA of Eastern Delaware County, are upset.

"At this facility, we've seen no reported cases to us. We have not received any calls saying that. We feel we're safe and we feel we're operating responsibly. We're devastated, especially this time of year. We do understand it, but it's still a very hard thing to stomach," said Ranck.

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Outdoor workouts and classes are being allowed, but most say that's not practical in the winter.

"It's just really frustrating because after work, going to the gym is a huge stress reliever. So the fact that they're closing, especially when it's freezing outside, not many people want to go running or work out outside," said Sabrina Connelly of Springfield, Delaware County.

For staff members, trainers and coaches, it will be another hard economic blow.

"It's definitely going to take a hit on my income. I'm just hoping we can get back to normal real soon," said Brett Caban of Drexel Hill.

Retail operators and small businesses who were banking on holiday sales are anticipating an economic disaster.

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"We're going to lose a number of businesses. Establishments that employ a lot of our friends and neighbors are frankly going to go under," said Gordon Denlinger with the National Federation of Independent Business.

He is urging small business operators to call the governor's office and state legislators and make their voices heard.

"If you're going to have to lay off people, if you're going to have to close forever, we think the Wolf administration and Governor Wolf need to know," said Denlinger.

The new restrictions will take effect on 12:01 a.m. Saturday, December 12 and will last through 8 a.m. on Monday, January 4, 2021. CLICK HERE to learn more.
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