Gym owners react to Prince George’s Co. lifting mask mandate

A woman works out at SoBodyFit Gym in Capitol Heights, Maryland. (Courtesy Theodore Diggs)
People wear masks at Posh Cycling and Fitness in College Park, Maryland. (Courtesy Mel Blain)
People work out outside at Posh Cycling and Fitness in College Park, Maryland. (Courtesy Mel Blain)

There are mixed feelings as Prince George’s County, Maryland, gyms prepare for the end of the local mask mandate.

As masks become optional on Monday in the area, Mel Blain, owner of Posh Cycling and Fitness in College Park, says she’s still going to be cautious.

“It’s a very hard decision for a small-business owner,” Blain said.

She said her staff is going to continue wearing masks. Blain will also start a vaccinated-only class again, and pick up classes outside once it’s warmer.

“What I plan to do is poll my clients and ask them how comfortable they feel with other clients who might want to take off their mask, and I’m going to go from there. If it’s a small class, and they all agree to take off their masks, then I will allow it,” Blain said.

Theodore Diggs, owner of SoBodyFit Gym in Capitol Heights said he is ready for the change.

“For us, that’s good news and exciting news,” Diggs said. “I think that it had kept a lot of people away from working out. Hopefully, that transmits to some more people coming into the gym and joining our gym.”

Diggs started his business in late 2020 after he got a lot of interest in classes he was holding in a local park.

“We’re very excited to hear that the mandate will be lifted and that we can again get somewhat back to normalcy, people coming out and being more active,” Diggs said.

He closed his gym for a month in January because of the omicron variant. Now, he’s back, and he’s ready to welcome clients with a mask-optional policy on Monday.

“If they want to wear their masks during class or during training, they’re more than welcome to. If they don’t, then that’s OK, too,” Diggs said. “I think that it had kept a lot of people away from working out.”

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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