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Washington gym owners launch campaign to urge governor to reconsider pandemic restrictions

The TV spots are funded by a network of small gym owners and spearheaded by a Planet Fitness franchisee.

SEATTLE — Many small gym owners across Washington state are urging the governor to ease COVID-19 restrictions on their industry. As the clock runs out on 2020, small gym owners across Washington state are launching a media blitz.

Two television ads are running with one clear message.

“Please reopen the gyms. It is essential to people’s overall health and well-being,” said one person in the commercial.

The TV spots are funded by an unnamed network of small gym owners spearheaded by Planet Fitness franchisees. Chris Odum is one of those owners.

“Our simple message is, we want Gov. Inslee to look at the date, evaluate the date and reopen our gyms,” said Odum, the owner of several Planet Fitness locations across western Washington.

Their move comes after Inslee extended the current restrictions on fitness centers into the new year.

RELATED: Washington's COVID-19 restrictions on indoor dining and gyms extended to Jan. 4

Current restrictions, intended to slow the spread of coronavirus, allow for gyms and fitness centers to operate in a very limited capacity — only outdoor classes with a cap of five people.

Alyssa Royse owns Rocket Community Fitness in Seattle. She wants to reopen, but she is pushing for safe re-entry.

“I’m not for a blanket reopening unless you can actually demonstrate that you are taking it seriously, understand the issues and are taking measures to mitigate the risk,” she said.

Similar campaigns in Oregon and New York state made the claim there is “no correlation between health club visits and COVID-19 cases.”

This is a claim Inslee's office vehemently denies, though his office conceded that there are “limitations to state outbreak data.”

The governor's office told KING 5 via email that, looking at the virus as a whole, it’s “obvious that these kinds of facilities pose a high risk of transmission.”