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Local gyms prepare to reopen, but will look different in a COVID-19 WorldSubmitted: 05/19/2020
Rachael Eyler
Rachael Eyler
Reporter
reyler@wjfw.com

Local gyms prepare to reopen, but will look different in a COVID-19 World
NORTHWOODS - While some private gyms are already back in business, the bulk of local gyms will reopen on May 26. 

But before welcoming back members, fitness centers prepare to implement new procedures to ensure they are staying safe while they're trying to get healthy. 

The YMCA of the Northwoods will be changing their gym layout that follows the guidelines provided by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, CEO Ryan Zietlow said.


"We're gonna have one way traffic," Zietlow said. "When we look at our wellness center, there's going to be restrictions and limitations on the number of equipment that we have. Every other piece of cardio equipment will be open so we can provide the social distance between people as they work out."

For those who don't want to workout alone the YMCA plans to continue workout classes but in a bigger space, Zietlow added.

"We will open up and run our group classes wbut what we're going to do is we're going to shift our focus from our aerobics studio and utilize our gymnasium for it."

In order to maintain social distancing, employees placed taped boxes across the gymnasium floor measuring six feet distance from each other.

The YMCA will also put limits on their pool area, asking members to reserve a lane to limit the number of people at one time.

Fitness centers like Sixel's Martial Arts and Fitness located in Eagle river find maintaining small classes isn't a problem.

"What we have is circuit fitness," owner, Dave Sixel said. "You're 30 minutes in and then you're out. So we never have more than 10 people at a time."

Sanitizing the studio and equipment also greatly increased, Sixel added.In addition to placing more cleaning stations, he added an air filtration system and regularly sprays down the studio three times a day.

Sixel's Martial Arts and Fitness reopened this past Monday. The YMCA of the Northwoods is set to open on May 26.

For YMCA members who do feel comfortable going back to the gym just yet, Zeitlow added that they can continue to put their membership on hold until they are ready.


"We understand that some members aren't ready to come back yet, maybe they have a little bit of fear, but we'll support them and look forward to all of our Y members coming back," Zeitlow said.


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FOREST CO. - Over the last three weeks, Forest Co. went from having zero confirmed COVID-19 cases to now 28.

Health officials state all but one is tied to an outbreak at The Bay at Nu Roc Health and Rehabilitation Center, in Laona.

However, Forest Co. residents connected to employees at Nu Roc say the virus was present a few weeks prior to the county's first case.

Resident Jennifer Connor discovered after speaking to community members that two weeks prior to the county announcing their first confirmed case another employee at NuRoc tested positive in April

Witnesses at NuRoc, who wish to remain anonymous, did confirm that the administration brushed off that employee's COVID like symptoms as another illness and allowed her to continue working in the building until April 24.

That following week the employee tested positive for the coronavirus.

CDC guidelines state "if a healthcare worker develops symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, difficulty breathing), advise them to stay home from work."

Nurses and other staff stated that the employee's significant other tested posted for the virus prior and after speaking with administration they were asked to not share that information with their colleagues.

One stated "Corporate told us that the employer has the coronavirus, but not to say anything to anyone as we need to keep this real quiet. We were told by corporate not to worry."

Following CDC guidelines includes healthcare workers to report when they come in contact to a high or medium-risk exposure. Additionally they ask to exclude them from working for 14 days after the last exposure.

Knowing that information, Connor began to call multiple state agencies to warn of the potential outbreak at Nu Roc.

All nursing homes are required to report data weekly to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and CDC through NHSN according to the CMS and CDC reporting requirements.

After speaking with almost ten state agencies, Connor added in an email to Newswatch 12 that they had no knowledge of the spread and even admitted they had inaccurate data.


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RHINELANDER - 114 colorful flower baskets will soon flood the streets of downtown Rhinelander.

For eight years the master gardeners at Forth Floral have put their effort into making downtown appealing to visitors.

Every April, petunias--one of the easiest flowers to grow and maintain--are picked out by color and grown in the greenhouse.

After that, each basket is displayed in June and watered every day for the rest of the season.

Forth Floral co-owner Ruth Hempel knows the impact the flowers have on people.

"Oh, people just love the hanging baskets. It's just been a real boost, it's good for our community as well as all the visitors that come to town. It just makes downtown a really beautiful place," she said.

A committee works with downtown to fund a campaign to fund the planting and maintenance of the flowers.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the group is struggling to find people to help nurture the plants.

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MADISON - In a press release Friday, Gov. Tony Evers released the following statement on the death of George Floyd:

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MADISON, WI - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is proud to host the 8th annual Wisconsin Free Fun Weekend. Park admission fees, fishing license and trail pass requirements will be waived on June 6-7 to encourage Wisconsinites to take advantage of and enjoy Wisconsin's outdoors.

During Free Fun Weekend June 6-7:

- No state park admission stickers or trail passes are required.
- People may fish without a fishing license or trout/salmon stamps. All other fishing regulations apply.
- ATV, UTVs, and OHMs are exempt from registration requirements. Resident and non-resident all-terrain vehicle operators do not need a trail pass to ride state ATV trails.
- Capacity limits remain in effect at some properties to limit overcrowding.
- Visitors are asked to recreate responsibly close to home and practice social distancing.

Before heading to a state park, trail or waterbody near you, here are some additional things to know:

FISHING

- Residents and non-residents will not be required to have a fishing license or trout/salmon stamps.
- All 2020-2021 fishing regulations apply including bag and length limits.
- Due to the public health risk, loaner equipment will not be available. Anglers should bring their own equipment and bait.
- Only anglers living in the same household (i.e. family members or roommates) should fish within six feet of one another.
- Events such as fishing clinics are canceled.
- Anglers are encouraged to have a backup plan in the event there is crowding or unsafe conditions where they plan to fish. We encourage everyone to fish safely and responsibly.
- Locate launches and shorefishing access points near you.

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MILWAUKEE - A rally organized by the group Community Task Force MKE took place outside the Wisconsin Black Historical Society at 1:00 p.m. today.

Protesters gathered to demand justice for the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Community activist Vaun Mayes took part in leading the rally.

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RHINELANDER - Ripco Credit Union announced that the lobbies of both the Rhinelander and Eagle River branches will be reopening on June 15th.

President/CEO Liza Edinger shared that the Reopening Plan uses a phased approach. 

Phase 1 has already begun, with members requiring specific services being welcomed back into their lobbies by appointment.

Those services include use of the coin machine, notary services, safe deposit box entry and certain loan closings.

Members are still asked to use non-contact services like the drive-ins, ATMs, phone, and digital channels whenever possible.

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