BUFFALO, N.Y. — Small businesses throughout Western New York have been resilient throughout the pandemic. With the Erie County mask mandate now in place, some gym owners are choosing to require vaccination instead.
Area gym owners have had to make a tough decision recently, whether to require members to wear masks while working out or require proof of vaccination to enter the facility.
Amy Bueme owns Catalyst Fitness, she announced that the Catalyst Fitness Maple Road location in Amherst will require proof of vaccination to work out.
The other six Catalyst Fitness locations will only require you to wear a mask.
Bueme said some members were frustrated that they needed to wear a mask while in the facility, while others were upset about a vaccination requirement, she said designating one location with a vaccine requirement was a fair solution.
"I have seven locations and Maple is my biggest location, and I said if I can take that club and say you have to be fully vaccinated to come in and you don't have to wear a mask then I could make a large portion of my membership happy and they can use that club,” said Bueme. “If you do not want to show you’re vaccinated then you can go to the one of 6 locations and use those.”
As a member of the New York State Fitness Alliance, Bueme said many small indoor fitness centers are also choosing to require vaccination over requiring masks.
"A lot of the smaller studios have made that if you are fully vaccinated you can come in and they have a more intimate setting where they can talk to all of their members," she said.
Also, according to social media posts by Rebel Ride in East Amherst and Sweat Society in Buffalo, both will be requiring vaccination in order to avoid the masking requirement.