He has since switched gears and formed the Pennsylvania Fitness Alliance, a group of more than 150 clubs throughout the commonwealth, with the goal of putting on a full-court press to get permission to reopen on June 6.
“We are now in communication with the Health Department and we sent out, to our state representatives, letters from constituents and our members to support this industry,” Worthington said.
Their lobbying message is simple: We can do this, and we can do it a lot more effectively than supermarkets or big box stores.
“We would be taking their temperature at the door. All the staff would be in masks. We would social distance in regards to spreading out the equipment and reduce the number of people in an exercise class. We would also have all the hand sanitizers, infrared lights and defogging machines,” he added.
The Alliance has already grown to more than 150 members who’ve been feverishly lobbying state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. The group has the support of Republican lawmakers, but the Health Department has been noncommittal.
Worthington, a nationwide fitness industry leader and owner of a 12,000-member club, has it made it clear that his patience is running out.
“I can tell you come June 15, unless we get really good news — and we’re hoping that Friday, the governor comes out with some new guidelines in terms of getting things open — I’ll be opening up. I will not be charging my members so nobody can say it’s a monetary thing. Now it’s about principle,” Worthington said.
The Pennsylvania Health Department issued a statement, saying it will work with the Alliance and others moving forward as part of the reopening process.