Letter: Fitness industry merits earlier phased reopening

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To the editor:

As leaders in the fitness industry in Berkshire County, we cannot help but wonder why our businesses were not considered for a structured opening plan that includes an earlier roll-out of the many safe options we all offer to our customers and community members. Gov. Baker's plan only mentions a possible consideration to allow personal training or outdoor classes at some point with no definitive timeline. Overlooking our ability to work on an appointment basis, just like other businesses in our community are being allowed to do, shortchanges us, as well as our members and guests. We would like to be considered for an earlier phase in the opening process for appointment-based fitness, with the understanding that larger groups like classes and full scale opening would phase in at a later date.

We strongly believe that overlooking fitness as an essential business is sending the wrong message to our community and will put the long range health of all the fitness and wellness businesses in the Berkshires in jeopardy. It is scientifically proven that individuals who get regular exercise have a higher immune response to fighting illness, making what we offer more essential than ever. Both the physical and mental health of so many people here in the Berkshires is directly related to all of our businesses. Pushing us off to phase three truly devalues all that we provide to our communities and the importance of living a fit and healthy lifestyle.

Suzanne Merritt,


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Daniel Shook,


Brian Pickard,


Suzanne Merritt is president, Lenox Fit; Daniel Shook is general manager, Lenox Fit; Brian Pickard is owner, Timeless Training, Pittsfield. The letter was also signed by Stephanie Pickard, co-owner with Brian Pickard of Gymfest of the Berkshires, Pittsfield; Brian W. Wright, general manager of Berkshire West Athletic Club in Pittsfield; Jamie Robinson, owner, Healthy Fitness, LLC in Pittsfield; Erica Ryan Law, owner, Crossfit Pittsfield; Todd J. Selva, owner, MVP Strength Camp, LLC in Pittsfield; Shiobbean and Kent Lemme, owners, Berkshire Running Center, Pittsfield; Justin Soules, owner, Soules Sports and Fitness, Lee; Ashley Soules, owner/franchisee, Snap 247, Lee; and Mike Bisaillon, owner, Crossfit GB, Great Barrington


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