The start of the year was supposed to mean new beginnings for Joshua Watrous, the owner and operator of Kingsville’s newest gym, Old School Iron STX.
The gym equipment had been set up in the new building on 907 E. Corral in Kingsville, and despite a few setbacks in the first two months of the year, Watrous was looking forward to opening the doors of his gym in March.
However, three days before passing inspection for his businesses certificate of occupancy, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued the orders for Texas businesses to shut down, which put opening his newest venture on hold.
“After a lengthy process starting in December, we were never able to open before the shutdown,” Watrous said. “We were very upset, of course, as we had to continue paying utilities and rent without any revenue. These last two months have been stressful to say the least.”
Last week, Gov. Abbott made the announcement that gyms would be able to open, with recommendations and guidelines to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The announcement excited Watrous and his staff, but he said they will “remain very cautious” and keep customer safety their first priority.
Watrous is recommending that all customers who enter Old School Iron STX adhere to CDC guidelines for social distancing, and will limit occupancy to only 28 gym goers at a time and no more than two lifters per group.
“We have also installed new hand sanitizer dispensers, (placed) extra disinfectant sprays throughout the gym and (we) are monitoring the size of groups and ensuring proper sanitation of equipment after use,” Watrous said.
“Everyone needs to continue being as cautious as possible. I think we all know the pandemic and it’s toll on life and commerce are far from over. But as a community, we should continue to support each other, respect each other and live life in caution, rather than fear.”
At Fit24 Gym in Kingsville, Sarah Ramos said “it felt strange going” to the gym for the first time in months.
“But it also felt very uneasy because I felt like if I was being watched, so they can make sure I was following the rules,” Ramos said.
Ramos said she and her boyfriend did follow the rules of the gym by sporting gloves and separating during their exercises, but found it to be a bit difficult to workout given the restrictions.
“I went to go do some cardio and my boyfriend went to lift, but its hard to do exactly what you want because lifting gets hard when you have to wear gloves,” she said. “It’s hard because of the glove requirements. They tear and if you don’t have a backup, you’ll probably be asked to leave.”
Ramos said she did like that the gym was really clean, which she said made it easier to get in, and get out of, the gym safely.