Chesterfield gym to require proof of vaccinations for customers

Updated: May. 28, 2021 at 7:15 AM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - Friday, all capacity and social distancing limitations will be a thing of the past all over the Commonwealth.

You may even be able to walk into a business or restaurant that doesn’t require masks. That’s because the governor is giving businesses discretion of how to operate from now on although, he continues to urge those who haven’t been vaccinated to mask up. Despite the restrictions coming to an end, some businesses are still practicing caution.

My Fitness Matters is a boutique gym in Chesterfield. Most of the customers here are over 60 years old.

“If you’ve ever tried to lean over a sink and open a window with just your arms and your back, it’s a stiff window. I struggled with it until I started training with Andrea. Now, I can lift that thing up like nobody’s business,” said 68-year-old Susan Ruppel.

Because of her clients’ ages, owner Andrea Robinson is taking the pandemic seriously. Initially, they had to close like other gyms last year.

“When we reopened, only half of the people returned. Only half,” Robinson said.

Add to that, a COVID outbreak - even with precautions in place. Despite Virginia’s capacity and social distancing restrictions being lifted Friday, Robinson is still proceeding with caution.

“They’re still wearing their mask into the lobby,” she said. Now Robinson is working to get people back in safely. “We are not able to be 10 feet apart, so how do you come back comfortably in an environment that you were drawn to because it is intimate?”

Her answer: Require vaccinations. She admits, there’s been some pushback. But in the end, she calls it a business decision.

“I had no trouble at all with it…Everybody has to do what makes them feel comfortable and what they feel safe doing,” Ruppel added.

“What they do in their own time is also their business, but June 1, everyone has provided documentation of a vaccine here,” Robinson said.

The owner says she’s down about $50,000 in business due to the pandemic, but she says health trumps profit.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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