House Bill 594, Temporary Open Gyms/Health Clubs/Fitness Centers, would allow gyms and fitness centers to re-open with several strict health safeguards, as well as treat bars equally with restaurants, and circumvent “Phase 2” of Gov. Cooper’s Executive Order which prohibits such establishments from opening.

Health safeguards include limiting the gyms to 50% capacity, regular disinfecting of equipment, and employees wearing masks. Establishments considered to be “bars” would no longer be prohibited from opening for customers and have similar restrictions that restaurants that were allowed to open in Phase 2 have in place.

HB 594 would largely follow Gov. Cooper’s original “Phase 2” guidelines with regard to gyms, fitness centers and bars, guidelines which he changed when announcing plans to move to the second phase of his plan.

Gym and bar owners and employees have suffered long enough. Many are going out of business or are on the brink of doing so. HB 594 would throw them a lifeline while ensuring significant safety precautions.

Moreover, allowing regular exercise at gyms and health clubs enhances the physical health of the population, which in turn can improve their mental health.

HB 594 would also allow for the governor to re-close businesses upon approval of the Council of State should surge in coronavirus cases reappear.

Ultimately, however, it comes down to property rights. The owners of the gyms and bars should be allowed to make informed decisions about their own property and how to keep it safe for their customers. Moreover, customers are free to stay home if they determine the gym or bar to be too risky.

HB 594 is a bill that favors property rights – a bedrock of any free society. For that reason, Civitas Action believes a vote for freedom is a vote in support of HB 594.

Civitas Action will grade any votes on this legislation in the House or Senate.

Civitas Action is a 501(c)(4) non-profit that educates and informs North Carolinians on policy issues and the actions of their elected officials.