Executive order lifts mask mandate for indoor physical activity

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signs a new executive order saying that masks are no longer required during indoor physical activity.

Redline Fitness Owner Austin Hatfield says that after an up-and-down year, the news is encouraging, both for gym owners and those who work out.

“People don’t like wearing a mask, so they’re going to be more compelled to go to the gym,” Hatfield said. “It’s just a freedom thing really.”

Redline Fitness has seen business slowly pick up over the last couple of months. Hatfield hopes that having the option to not wear a mask will see that trend continue.

“We’ve seen more people come in,” Hatfield said. “We’ve had more flow of business. I feel like people are getting more comfortable.”

Hatfield says that having to wear a mask when working out may have caused people to stay away from gyms, but a number of them could come back with the new order in place.

“I feel like this will be a good path that people will come out and want to work out now,” Hatfield said.

As of Wednesday morning, the state Department of Health and Human Resources reports over 38% of West Virginians have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with over 29% fully vaccinated. Hatfield is optimistic that as vaccinations increase, so will the number of West Virginians getting back out in public.

“I feel like it’ll be a big boost in everybody’s business,” Hatfield said. “Not just ours.”

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