Pinellas gym owner may open next week, despite governor’s order

Coronavirus

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – When Governor Ron Desantis announced Florida was slowly reopening, Travis Labazzo thought, finally, relief.

Labazzo owns Amped Fitness in Pinellas County, which has gyms in Largo, Pinellas Park and St. Petersburg with one soon to open in the Tyrone area.

He was devastated when he learned gyms were left off the list of businesses that were permitted to reopen.

“And I was just talking to my wife and we were like there’s no way he’s not going to open up the gyms,” said Labazzo. “And when he got to phase one and announce the gyms were not part of it, we were completely shocked.”

Labazzo explains, prior to the shutdown, he had every other cardio machine unplugged. Employees were wiping down equipment frequently and gym members were also doing their part. The plan was to do the same when the facilites reopened.

“What people don’t understand, when you shut down the business, it’s not about the business profiting,” said Labazzo. “It’s about the employees.”

Clay Payne manages the Largo location and echos the sentiment. “There’s no money coming in, so we’re not getting paychecks,” said Payne. “The PPP loan has not come through for us yet, if at all.”

Labazzo is hoping the Governor DeSantis will reconsider and allow fitness centers to reopen. If not, he says he may be forced to break the rules.

“It’s not if, but when I’m going to open between the 4th and the 8th,” said Labazzo. “I’ve fallen in line just like everybody else. I’ve done when everybody else has asked me to do, I’ve followed the rules, I’ve played by the rules and now I’m hoping he does the right thing.”

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