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Eugene rally seeks to reopen gyms

Bryan Avalyon, CEO of Emerald Health Clubs, said the governor should be using all the tools possible to keep people healthy and gyms are one of them.

Posted: Dec 21, 2020 7:22 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- With gyms still closed around Western Oregon, gym patrons and owners rallied at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza in downtown Eugene Monday, demanding the governor allow gyms to open.

About 120 people gathered in the afternoon with signs that said masks work and working out helps the immune system. They argued gyms not only help keep people physically healthy but also mentally healthy.

Bryan Avalyon, CEO of Emerald Health Clubs, said the governor should be using all the tools possible to keep people healthy and gyms are one of them.

"I hope that the governor and those who are looking at what should and should not be open, take a very serious look at what has happened in Colorado, what is happening in New York, what's happening in other states, and realize that she should be sending us an invitation, or opening her arms and saying, 'You guys help me in this battle that I'm in,'" Avalyon said.

The rally did cite some studies that say there is no evidence of significant spread of COVID-19 in gyms. One of those studies was done by students at the University of Oregon. But that study was done by business students and was not peer-reviewed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said gyms have the potential to spread the virus quickly. They cited air flow and the proximity between patrons in gym facilities that could be dangerous.

However for many, including Rich Wood who goes to a gym in Veneta, gyms are more than just a place to workout, it's a place to socialize.

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