No mask mandate boosts local gym business

No mask mandate boosts local gym business

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Premier Sportsplex has seen an increase in business since the Texas mask mandate was lifted on March 10.

Owner Curry Blackwell says business has been steady even since the facility opened at limited capacity last May.

“Getting out among people and being social is so important to us, so important to our social and mental health, that we’re really encouraging that. We have seen a boom as far as that goes,” Blackwell said.

Premier isn’t requiring members or employees to wear masks, although it’s still encouraging mask-wearing in larger groups and social distancing when possible.

“People know that if they are either vulnerable or still feel uncomfortable, that we certainly encourage them to feel, to be comfortable wearing a mask or put them in a situation that makes them feel comfortable,” Blackwell said.

Brandan Fokken, wellness director at Zach’s Club West, says business didn’t change with the mask mandate lifted, since it didn’t enforce the mandate from the beginning.

Fokken says the gym is seeing an increase in memberships for another reason.

“Over the course of this last year, a lot of people have come here from other gyms wanting to join us because they didn’t want to wear a mask. People don’t want to exercise with a mask on,” Fokken said.

In addition to people wanting to return to normalcy, he says January, February and March were already his top three months for new members.

Fokken says hitting the gym can help people fight COVID-19, from a physical aspect and a mental one.

“You look at some people that come in here and it could be a widower. They could be 75 years old and lost their husband or wife. This is all they have. They don’t have any other social outlet other than going to the gym each day,” Fokken said.

Both Fokken and Blackwell say staff are cleaning regularly to provide a safe environment and members are still encouraged to wipe down machines after each use.

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