IRVINE (CBSLA) – With hundreds of members using the same equipment, large fitness chains will have a tougher time reopening amid physical distancing guidelines in the coronavirus era. However, smaller “microgyms” are pushing to reopen sooner, arguing that it will be easier for them to keep people safe.

Fitness on Fire in Irvine, Calif. May 20, 2020. (CBS2)

Fitness on Fire in Irvine is one of these smaller, boutique gyms that are trying to show health officials that their gyms differ from the big corporate gyms, and should therefore be allowed to reopen earlier than their larger counterparts.

“We need support, we need help, so this is me asking, begging,” Fitness on Fire CEO Josh Graves told CBS2 Wednesday.

Graves said he’s installed a touchless thermometer that all members will have to use before they can come in. The gym has also spaced out all its equipment significantly.

“You’ve got a pod here in each space, which is like 200 to 300 square foot for each person,” Graves aid. “So we’re not even just doing physical distancing at six foot, you’ve got like half the gym to yourself.”

Fitness on Fire has retrofitted everything from its bathrooms to workout stations to meet guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also brought in a cleaning crew to fog the gym with disinfectant.

“I think we can control that environment just as much as a big box retailer or restaurant or liquor store,” Graves said.

CrossFit gyms in Pasadena and South Pasadena came together recently to make a video asking city leaders to reclassify their businesses as microgyms so they can reopen ahead of corporate facilities.

Meanwhile, Graves says working out is what will keep more people healthy and help them fight diseases like coronavirus.

“Really, at the end of the day, exercise, health, fitness, that’s all a big part of the holistic approach to keeping people healthy and fit, and helping people ward off disease,” Graves said.

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