AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) - As small businesses continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, one boutique fitness studio owner says small gyms shouldn't be treated like one of the larger facilities. Magda Hashem has taught pilates for 20 years and is the owner of Pharonik Pilates in Aurora.
"We're typically a woman-owned industry that employs many other women. The impact on this industry has been significant," explained Hashem. "I left a job of 20 years behind a computer so I could be teaching movement, but when this happened, our options were to go virtual."
Hashem said her clients immediately adapted to an online, virtual style of class. When the state transitioned to the 'Safer-at-Home' phase, she was given the green light to hold small, personal training classes.
"Right now we're only allowed to have four people in studio at a time," she explained. "And they have to be 6 feet apart."
That is typical for her studio. She said one of her concerns through the business closures, is boutique fitness generally holds small classes with reserved spots, and equipment is always sanitized before and after use. Yet, the state still required her to close.
"That was hard for a lot of my clients because a lot of them were like, 'I am more safe coming into your studio, then I am going to the grocery store and plus it's healthy for me'," she told CBS4. "And I'm like, I know but we have to abide by the laws. That's the most important thing."
Hashem said when she was able to open slowly to personal training classes, she researched sanitation methods and found a way to double sanitize equipment.
"We can't just throw wipes and hand sanitizer and open. It's not gonna work that way," she explained. "So we had to find the disinfectant that will kill COVID-19 but would still protect our equipment as well."
Hashem said she believes that exercise, specifically Pilates and Garuda are essential to keep her clients healthy. She says until they can fully reopen, she'll continue to focus on safety and continue a mix of in-studio and virtual classes.
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