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April 30, 2020 – On Sunday, April 26th, a total of 18 gyms, fitness centers, and family-focused entertainment centers from Cleveland’s east side united with a goal to brainstorm an action plan and best practices in order to meet the strict sanitation and social distancing protocols outlined by Governor DeWine for reopening Ohio. 

While in usual circumstances these local, small and (in some cases fledging) businesses may not have collaborated, these businesses have proactively formed a community in order to help each other find a path forward in these difficult times. The meeting was organized and hosted by Maureen Eppich, owner of Jump Start Gymnastics. “The goal of the meeting was to set standards of safety, sanitization, and social distancing that will gain the trust of families and clientele to return to the facilities.” 

Paula Pascarella, owner of The Little Gym in Shaker Heights, contributed by providing a list of The Little Gym International’s recommended list of products to clean and disinfect the facility and equipment. Annie Richman, owner of Shaker Rocks Climbing Gym, openly shared the strict protocols they put in place in preparation for opening. “We will continue to have a 1 to 6 instructor-climber ratio for classes and plan to limit capacity to 50% of fire code occupancy.”

Next steps for the group involve surveying their customers to make sure they are not only following the restrictions set forth by the State but addressing concerns and expectations of their customers. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” said Denise Carkhuff, founder of Adrenaline Monkey, an indoor adventure center. “We will thoughtfully approach our reopenings and do whatever it takes to make our facilities safely available to our customers as soon as possible. We will not rush to reopen before we are ready to provide the safety and customer service that our customers demand and deserve.”

Participating facilities include: Adrenaline Monkey, City Ballet of Cleveland, Ecole de Pole, Extreme Pump It Up Fitness, Fitness Plus, Jump Start Gymnastics, Little Stars Gymnastics, Murphy’s Irish Arts Center, Nola Movements, Overload Fitness, Shaker Rocks, Studio J Academy of Dance, The Ballet Academy, The Little Gym in Shaker Heights, The Somatic Center, Thrive Arts Center, Verb Ballets, Wilhelm Dance Studio.

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