Dozens squatted, thrusted and lunged on the lawn of the Michigan Capitol during a workout and rally meant to bring awareness about the plight of gyms that have been closed for four months.
"We are desperately in need of help. At this point, there is nobody, even the biggest ones, who are doing OK," said Alyssa Tushman, vice chair of the Michigan Fitness Club Association.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in March ordered gyms closed, along with casinos and theaters, in an effort to slow down the rate of coronavirus infection by limiting person-to-person contact and promoting social distancing.
Tushman owns Burn Fitness, which has three locations in the Detroit area. She said her business is struggling to stay afloat and may only be able to do so for a few more weeks.
"We're living minute-to-minute right now. And I can't even believe we're still surviving. But I am desperately concerned. We have a lot of debt right now. And I'm very, very scared," she said.
Tushman and others with the MFCA, which recently was formed and has 150 members, hosted Tuesday's fitness rally to spotlight the benefits of exercise during the pandemic.
The men, women and children wore masks and stayed six feet apart – a distance marked by small American flags sticking out of the grass – as they went through the "boot camp" workout led by a group of fitness professionals.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.