Chicago COVID-19: Hyde Park gym owner hit hard in 2020 faces new restrictions

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There's just one more day before big changes are coming. It's not a complete shutdown, but from grocery stores to gyms, there will be new restrictions starting Friday.

Gym owner Adryenne Alvarez has been hit exceptionally hard during the pandemic. Her Orange Theory Fitness franchises closed down during the first round of severe COVID restrictions.

"Every time that we get thrown these blows, it's kind of another slap in the face," Alvarez said.

When things finally reopened, her South Loop gym location was vandalized and looted during unrest.

"I just really try to keep my head down to do what I have to do because I know there are people depending on me," she said.

Now, facing 25% capacity restrictions for gyms and a prohibition on indoor group classes starting Friday, Alvarez said she has no choice.
"It means a lot of uncertainty," she said. "It means once again we have to find a way to completely change our business model and we need to adapt very quickly."

Restrictions will be felt across the board. On Friday, restaurants will also have to close indoor dining, retail stores have to cut capacity to 25%, museums will close, even grocery stores and pharmacies will operate at half capacity.

"I feel really bad for the restaurants, the sports facilities and the workout places," said walker Jon Dennis. "And at the same time, I have immuno-compromised people in my family and for us, it kind of makes sense."

Some suburban communities like Highland Park are already taking action, closing gyms and limiting gatherings to 10 people across the board right now.
"Let's see what what we can do over these next 30 days," said Highland Park Mayor Mayor Nancy Rotering. "See if we can get our caseloads down. See if we can slow the spread and diminish the loss of lives and potentially be able to be together through the December holidays."

It's all an effort to slow skyrocketing COVID-19 cases in the state. Alvarez said she's applied to every small business grant she can to get help.

"I always tell people, if it has an application, I'm filling it out. Absolutely. Because I want to keep going," she said. "But unfortunately, it's just not enough. It's just not enough."

Alvarez was clear, she is going to abide by the restrictions and she wants to do her part to slow the spread, while keeping her business open.
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