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GYMS AND SPORTS: Governor’s new restrictions to slow spread impacting Minnesotans daily life

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St Charles football team

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Wednesday night, Governor Tim Walz announced new regulations closing bars and restaurants for indoor dining as well as gyms.

Not only are gyms and fitness centers impacted, but school and organized youth sports are being restricted as well. At Century High School, the gym and National Volleyball Center are closed as the future of many upcoming sports seasons is up in the air.

Anytime Fitness in Stewartville is certain this shutdown will not be as bad as the last one.

"I feel like we're more prepared this time around than we were prior," said manager Jared Johnson.

Even with a lot more virtual classes to offer, it will still be a hit to the business's revenue stream.

"I'm torn between being upset and feeling targeted while also still trying to understand the public health aspect of it," Johnson said.

Yet, he hopes the restrictions are not extended past four weeks.

"Four weeks from after the closure is coming up on New Year's," Johnson said. "That is a historically very busy time for gyms."

It is also a busy time for youth basketball.

"We actually got our first weekend of league game which we play at the volleyball center," said Greg Bone, acting president of the Rochester Community Youth Basketball Association (RCYBA).

RCYBA games and practices have since been canceled.

"Basically we're in shutdown right now due to Rochester schools closing gyms," said Bone.

Many football and volleyball seasons had to be paused due to distance learning polices in school districts. The governor's new restrictions cancel any chance of resuming the seasons.

"Certainly with the upcoming news, our seasons are done for football and volleyball," said Scott McCready, athletic director for the St. Charles School District.

Winter sports are also impacted by the four-week order.

"That would push the start of basketball and wrestling. Dance was scheduled to start on the 9th. Some schools have been doing it," McCready said. "For us, it has been virtual because of our distance learning."

Distance learning has been difficult for students, especially with outlets outside of the classroom being restricted.

"There are kids that are really missing it," McCready said. "I have a daughter that's a senior. She's certainly missing her activities."

He says despite a short football season, some kids were just grateful to get the chance to play at all.

"None of us is really sure what tomorrow is going to bring any time in our lives," McCready said. "We should appreciate what we have no matter what."

It's the same attitude the manager at Anytime Fitness is adopting.

"I'd like to think that we're going to be okay," said Johnson.

Bone is unsure whether RCYBA games will be postponed or cancelled. He says it depends on court availability.

At St. Charles and other high schools, the decision on postponing or cancelling winter sport seasons is also still yet to be made.

Alex Tejada

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