Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to make an announcement today regarding whether or not the reopening Florida gyms will happen. Amidst the reopening of businesses in Phase 1 for the Sunshine State, a handful of nonessential locations have taken the initiative to open their doors before receiving the official order. Some family and privately owned gyms and studios have beaten him to the punch and began their own Phase 2.

The Orlando Fitness Center offers Brazilian Capoeira martial arts classes, an art that is less contact-focused than its eastern counterparts.

Narcity reached out to Orlando Fitness Center owner Roberto Folclore Armien, learning more about his decision to open before DeSantis gives the green light and how he's surviving during pandemic shutdowns.

Armien told Narcity that his decision to reopen was twofold. He wanted to stay connected to his students while allowing a transition time for them to return.

His decision includes foregoing monthly tuition for the time being and only charging $10 per class to keep the option of capoeira open for people who wanted it. And even though most gyms are closed right now, they still have mortgages to pay.

“I’ve already had several old students who had quit years ago come back,” Armien explained. “We’re hopeful that the engaging, family-oriented environment will draw people in who have been starved for that kind of community.”

Armien and his wife Raelyn have even taken extra precautions to keep their students safe during this reopening, requiring face masks for adults and children, temperature checks, removing chairs from the spectator area, and deep-cleaning the mats with both sanitizer and UVC lights that oxidize bacteria.

The business owner reopened his location in Orlando on Monday, though DeSantis had not yet announced it was safe to do so.

A Melbourne gym also opened prior to DeSantis' go-ahead earlier this month but was personally asked by Melbourne Vice Mayor Paul Alfrey to close again.

Gyms across Florida have been preparing for safe reopenings and pushing DeSantis to let them move forward.

Some had even taken to protesting the lack of allowing gyms to reopen as seen in Pinellas County, where groups gathered in front of the Clearwater Courthouse on Monday to do squats and pushups while calling for their exercise hubs to be reopened.

While gyms, salons, and barbershops were not included in the original Phase 1 of reopening, DeSantis gave the go-ahead for salons earlier this week. His announcements regarding gym openings are expected today.

Gyms, yoga studios, and their members may be able to look forward to a similar decision this afternoon.

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