Local Gym Joins Class Action Lawsuit Being Filed Against NY State
Since the phased reopening process began in the Mohawk Valley one of the biggest questions is, when will gyms be allowed to open? Now, gyms are fighting back.
Well, Cuomo made it pretty clear late last week that gyms would NOT open under phase 4 as originally stated and some fitness centers classified as a "personal care" business is now excluded from phase 2. Why the battle with fitness centers and gyms? Like everything else about the reopening process, nobody knows.
Ryan Obernesser is the owner of O.B. Training and Sports Performance on Chenango Road in Utica. He has been open since Phase 2 as one of those fitness businesses classified as "personal care" by New York State. Obernesser says, "Our business code that we file our taxes with for the last decade and how New York State determines eligibility positioned us as a Phase 2 business." Obernesser went on to clarify that they are not the same as a traditional gym because they are not open to the public and do sessions on a "By Appointment Only" basis.
Things changed when people caught wind that Obernesser and other facilities like his were open and operating. Obernesser said he was contacted by local officials upon reopening and were told, "the Governor is watching you, be careful." When word got to Albany of Obernesser's "personal care" classification, wording of the guidelines were changed.
We already know three other facilities that have had to shut down for good and this is destroying people
Obernesser says, "On June 12th, they went and completely changed the wording of our business code to specifically excluded us." O.B. Training and Sports Performance was not specifically called out in the wording change, but fitness centers like Ryan's was now excluded from the list of "Phase 2" businesses. Obernesser says, "On Friday every fitness facility was told to cease and desist," but Ryan says he will not. "We already know three other facilities that have had to shut down for good and this is destroying people," lamented Obernesser. That is why he and 500 other New York State fitness centers like his are taking action, literally.
When the decree came down from the Governor that gyms needed to cease all operations, that was the last straw for these small business owners. Obernesser says, "A group of gym owners in New York State have banded together and either today or tomorrow will be filing a class action lawsuit against New York State." While O.B. Training and Sports Performance will not be leading the charge, they are one of several gyms pushing back.
On a local level, officials have not given permission to area gyms to stay open, but personally feel for those facilities and don't agree with the regulations and restrictions put in place by New York State.
We will continue to provide details of the lawsuit once it has been filed and when we find out which other local facilities are on it. The mystery of what's open and not in New York continues, it looks like, for the foreseeable future.