WRIGHTSTOWN >> The Transcend Fitness Club on Durham Road reopened its doors over the weekend despite the Governor's continued stay-at-home and COVID-19 shutdown orders.

"This has been an exceedingly difficult decision for us to make," wrote owner Jess Coates in a FaceBook posting. "We have weighed all options, considered all ramifications, and ultimately have concluded reopening at this time to be the best option.

"We understand that many of our members have been without the physical fitness or mental health outlet that our club provides each and every day. We strongly support the notion that mental and physical health not only assist in the quality of life, but also add years to your life," wrote Coates. "As many of you have expressed, and we agree, more damage is being done while being closed."

Over the last 10 years, Coates said Transcend Fitness Club has been a community supporter by donating to numerous charities, sports leagues, non-profits, and schools. "Our mission remains to provide the highest quality service and facility to our members while practicing strong business ethics. Remaining closed for the unknown timetable that has been set, we lose the ability to continue to have a positive community impact, which is especially important right now."

Coates continues, "The third factor that allowed us to come to this decision is the families in which this business supports. The club employs 20 people who have families of their own to financially support. Throughout the closure, we continued to collect membership dues to pay our employees in full, assuring those dependent on them were taken care of. Additionally, Transcend Fitness Club fully supports our three sons. Continuing the closure of the club dramatically increases the reality of having to close the business. As parents, we simply cannot sit and wait, and I know you all would do the same for your children.

"With our reopening," said Coates, "we realize the importance of following the health guidelines that are currently being followed by the essential businesses that have been operating throughout this time."

Coates said the club "will practice all CDC recommendations, including mandatory masks, social distancing (remaining six feet apart) and only allowing 20 people into the club at a time.

"We will have shortened hours of operation (7 a.m. to 4 p.m. dailly). To gain access, you may sign up for an 'open gym' time slot on our Transcend Fitness Club App (available on the App Store and Google Play)."

The club is only allowing 20 people to enter on the hour for 45 minutes. At 45 minutes past the hour, the club will close for 15 minutes to disinfect. Only the main gym will open. The CrossFit gym will remain closed until further notice, according to the posting. And there will be no classes inside the club, but all online classes will continue.

"We ask that you do not bring any personal belongings into the club, including your swipe tag. Our front desk staff will check each member in via the app registration," Coates wrote.

Lockers will not be available to use. And all essential purchases (water, sports drinks) will be completed via each patron's individual account with no cash transactions.

"As you always have, continue to wipe down equipment before and after use. Failure to comply with our guidelines will result in loss of membership. Your choice to come to the club, or not, is voluntary and we support whatever decision is best for you," said Coates. "We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continued support."

The decision brought a mixed bag of reactions from the club's FaceBook followers.

One blasted the decision as "self-serving" and for putting money before lives. Another asked if the club is willing to pay the medical and funeral costs of anyone infected by the decision.

Others praised the owners for exercising their "Constitutional" freedoms and allowing the public to decide what is best for them.

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