Lawton gyms seek answers regarding COL mask mandate

Published: Jul. 20, 2020 at 6:22 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - A mask mandate went into effect Friday after the Lawton City Council voted in favor of the new ordinance 6-1. But, the new order has brought on confusion for some types of businesses, such as gyms.

In the City of Lawton’s mask mandate, gyms are not specifically referenced. However, Lawton mayor, Stan Booker, said gyms are not exempt from the mandate, and those who are able must wear a mask inside the facility.

Frank Walker, CEO of the Lawton Family YMCA, said he, his staff and patrons have been in compliance with the ordinance, but he has some questions.

“We got a copy of the ordinance this morning, because they did it late Friday. We’re trying to go over and get some clarification with the city councilmen and the mayor’s office on the exemptions and the social distancing,” said Walker. “Is social distancing required along with masks, or what the requirements are.”

The mask mandate does provide an exemption for those who have medical conditions or disabilities. However, Adam McBride, a trainer at EyeCandi Fitness, said clients do not have to reveal that personal information.

“According to HIPAA, they don’t have to say, ‘oh, I have asthma, high blood pressure.’ They don’t have to. It’s their right to withhold that information,” said McBride. “So we just kind of just ask them a few questions and let them know that if they can wear the mask, we highly encourage wearing a mask. If you can’t, we understand.”

McBride said gyms value health and strive to help their clients achieve their fitness goals, but wearing masks makes that hard to do.

“I could tell, just kind of being here, that attendance is a little down a little bit more, just cause exercising with a mask is not practical,” said McBride.

Walker said he and his staff will continue social distancing and sanitizing, they just ask for clarity.

“Everybody wants to be safe, and we’re trying to be as safe as possible for not only our members, our employees and everyone else here, too,” said Walker. “We’re not bucking the system, we’re just trying to use common sense and what works for us.”

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