EASTHAM — Willy’s Gym claims it is now eligible to reopen when all gyms and fitness centers are permitted to do so under phase three of Gov. Charlie Baker’s reopening plan. Barbara Niggel, the owner of Willy’s, said in a June 11 email to members that the gym has met all the necessary requirements.
“I am happy to say that the facility has met all Federal, State and Local codes for a commercial business,” Niggel wrote in the email. “We are eager to move forward in a healthy, fun and relaxed environment with our members and guests and the community we love. The past months have been difficult, but my commitment to the club has never wavered. I sincerely hope that you will return with an open and positive mind.”
A final inspection by the town’s health, fire, and building depts. was scheduled for Wednesday, June 10, according to Building Commissioner Tom Wingard. But neither Wingard nor Town Administrator Jacqui Beebe responded to multiple requests to confirm that the gym had passed inspection.
Niggel’s emails since June 10 suggest that the gym did pass. Phase three is set to begin as early as June 29, as long as pandemic indicators support the move.
“Once the Governor gives the ‘green light,’ which is expected in Phase 3, we will begin the opening of the indoor facilities as allowed,” Niggel wrote in the June 11 email. “This is a fluid situation, and we will continue to make on-going adjustments as necessary, and quickly.”
Willy’s was shut down prior to the Covid-19 crisis, on Dec. 12, 2019, due to numerous health and safety violations, after Wingard posted a notice on the building. Videos on social media revealed that, at a holiday party held inside Willy’s on Dec. 7, an exit door was blocked by exercise equipment that had been pushed to the wall.
Niggel said she planned to open the outdoor tennis courts at the facility before the gym itself, as outdoor recreation is currently permitted under phase two guidelines. In a June 14 email, she said the courts were scheduled to open “in a matter of days.”
Those interested in playing tennis must register online. A maximum of four players will be allowed per court at a cost of $40 per hour or $60 for an hour and a half, which can be split by the players. Nonmembers must pay an additional $10.
Players on the outdoor courts must supply their own masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, balls, towels, water, and tennis equipment, according to Niggel. The courts will be brushed by a Willy’s staff member after use. Players are asked not to touch any club equipment.
Niggel listed a number of improvements the gym has made, including a new fire panel, new fire sprinkler system, updated plumbing and electrical systems, and a new emergency exit added to the functional training facility.
“We appreciate your flexibility and patience with this ever-changing situation,” Niggel wrote to her email list. “It is our goal to make necessary adjustments in a timely manner while supplying you with clear guidelines.”