BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – It’s been quiet inside Team BSS in Boardman for almost two months now, ever since Ohio Governor Mike DeWine ordered gyms and fitness centers closed because of COVID-19. Even though most of his members have stayed, owner Shawn Schumaker still has bills to pay.
“You don’t make any money throughout this time, so we do have the overhead of the electricity and everything that goes into the gym,” he said.
Schumaker is one of 35 gym owners across the state now suing, claiming rules put in place by the governor and health director Dr. Amy Acton are unconstitutional. He said the legal action grew out of a social media messaging group of about 120 operators all wanting to be heard.
“Mostly just recognition that we’re worth being opened, just like everybody else,” Schumaker said.
He and others have been told for weeks a “working group” would provide plans to the governor for reopening but Schumaker learned that group only started talking this week.
“So all of that time they’ve been telling us that they’re working with the gym working group, there was no working group for the gyms,” he said.
In the meantime, Schumaker said smaller fitness centers are being forced to close for good.
“These people have worked 10, 20 years to build these companies and now they’re just getting demolished because they’re not allowed to open.”
Although Ohio’s attorney general claims the governor is within his rights to issue certain regulations during emergencies, Schumaker said he’d like to see the lawsuit push officials into at least setting a date for gyms like his to reopen.