Business owners are hopeful as COVID-19 extends into new year

Published: Jan. 1, 2021 at 6:20 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - It’s a new year with new goals, and local gyms are hoping 2021 brings in more clients to fill the losses of last year.

“2020 caught every single person by surprise,” Ivan Trinidad with Ivan’s Fitness Gallery said.

After re-opening their doors, the number of people in Ivan’s Fitness Gallery didn’t look quite the same.

“Initially the class size, I mean, we were having between 30 to 40 people in the class and when we reopened again, it was just three or four,” Trinidad said.

“I think, just out of fear. And I think that goes with anything no matter what your business is, we lost members because they didn’t want to come in here,” Amanda Jennings, the owner of Endurance Fitness, said.

But both say 2021 is already off to a good start.

“The rush that we’ve actually seen in January, we’re already into it. So, we’re expecting a whole lot more coming into the next couple of weeks,” Jennings said.

Like many other small businesses, fitness centers have had to adapt and seek assistance to keep the doors open.

Locally, Augusta’s Small Business Loan program has given $350,000 out to qualifying businesses with less than 10 employees. They say they still have another $650,000 left in the bank.

Federal PPE loans were given to thousands of small businesses across the country too.

“Thankfully, our members just did what they had to do to push through, and we also got supplemented by the government, so it was, it was nice to be able to have that,” Jennings said.

With a wave of rising cases, old members returning and new members coming in, gym owners are preparing to keep people safe too.

“Once they sanitize themselves. We also got to check the temperature. If the temperature is past the COVID-19 protocols. We’re not going to let it walk into this business,” Trinidad said.

At the next commission meeting, the Augusta Housing and Community Development Department plans to ask the commission to also consider funds for helping businesses with more than 100 employees as well.

In the meantime, both gyms say they are following all COVID-19 safety measures, and they say they will continue to offer safe ways for new and returning members to get healthy for the new year.

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