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11/24/2020 Senator Paolino questions gym closures during 2-week “pause”
STATE HOUSE – Senator Thomas J. Paolino, (R-Dist. 17, Lincoln, North Providence, North Smithfield) said Tuesday that he is urging Governor Raimondo to reconsider her decision to close gyms and indoor fitness classes during the two-week “pause” she has ordered beginning November 30.

“Gyms and fitness centers have worked hard to comply with all safety precautions so people can work out,” Paolino said. “Everyone wears a mask, the equipment is socially distanced, there is ample hand sanitizer and equipment is cleaned every hour – and also before and after someone uses it.  They have invested considerable money to make sure their facilities are clean and safe. Do we see staff in stores disinfecting merchandise?  Why are gyms being targeted?”

Paolino, a fitness trainer at the MacColl YMCA, said when the Department of Health inspected his workplace, the inspector said it was so well arranged that it could serve as a model for other gyms.

Paolino said the industry has been hit hard by pandemic shutdowns, and ordering them to shutter their doors for another two weeks might be the final blow for many of these small businesses that are barely surviving.

“People are willing to take precautions to participate in activities they enjoy,” Paolino said.  “Business owners and their patrons have the right to choose whether or not they go to a gym.  In fact, many people consider gyms to be businesses ‘essential’ to their health.”

Indeed, with spiking rates of depression and addiction since the beginning of the pandemic, Paolino said health and wellness are more important than ever.

“The weather is getting colder, so people aren’t as likely to go for a walk or exercise outdoors. We know working out boosts your immunity, reduces stress and anxiety and improves your sleep – and all these things are especially important during these pandemic times.  We need to seriously consider the economic and mental health impacts this closure will have on our state’s residents,” Paolino said.

For more information, contact:
Katie Haughey Cardoza, Senate Minority Office
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-2708