The reopening process continued in Springfield with residents waiting in long lines at the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) locations, working out at their favorite gyms and bowling a few games at the local bowling alley on Tuesday.
Gov. Mike DeWine announced on May 14 that BMVs, gyms and fitness centers were permitted to reopen on Tuesday if the facilities could meet required safety protocols. A week later, Lt. Gov. Jon Hustead announced that bowling alleys, miniature golf courses and batting cages could reopen the same day.
The BMV locations on North Bechtle Avenue and Sunset Avenue had a line of people waiting before the BMVs opened their doors.
“You don’t have to rush to a location,” Ohio BMV spokeswoman Lindsey Bohrer said. “People have an extension through the end of the pandemic.”
Bohrer explained that the Ohio Legislature passed House Bill 197, which allows Ohioans to have an extension on their expired license or ID card.
For individuals who have had a driver’s license or ID card expire after March 9, the expiration date has automatically been extended until 90 days after Ohio’s state of emergency ends or Dec. 1, 2020, whichever comes first, according to the Ohio BMV.
Bohrer added that most of their services can be done online - with the exception of drivers licenses or ID cards.
Drivers can get temporary tags, renew or replace license plates and check their vehicle’s registration status online at www.oplates.com.
She encourages those who must go to the BMV to get in line via an online appointment maker.
“We’re trying to make this as safe as possible,” Bohrer said.
Melissa Tuttle, the Clark County Clerk of Courts said it was “kind” for the state to make the extension because “it is a financially hard time for people.”
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Tuttle said her office has been helping to answer calls regarding BMV services. She said that the title office has stayed open throughout the pandemic by using their drive-thru.
From March 16 to May 21, 4,560 titles were issued in Clark County, Tuttle said.
She added that documents can be notarized for $1 at the title office - “that saves people money and time especially with the BMV locations being so crowded.”
Gyms were not crowded on Tuesday as social distancing guidelines limited class capacities.
“There’s plenty of room and plenty of space for people to lift,” Alexis Fourman, co-owner of Springfield Health and Fitness Center on North Limestone Street said. “It’s not as crowded as they might think.”
She explained that Springfield Health and Fitness Center is limiting their capacity to 100 members each hour.
“So far it has gone well,” Fourman said. “It has not been overcrowded. We have been fortunate enough to have a large gym.”
Matt Garrity, owner of Champion City CrossFit on Upper Valley Pike said, “People are excited. They are ready to be back.”
He explained that the new guidelines did not make much of a difference at his gym because classes were smaller and cleaning procedures were in place. Classes are now limited to 10 people with online registration, sanitizer and disinfectant is near each station and each station is pre-set with workout equipment to make sure “everything is more contained.”
Garrity said the biggest challenge for members during the pandemic was not being able to work out with other people.
“Removing that part hurts the motivation a little bit,” Garrity said.
Brit Insley, a member at Champion City CrossFit said she enjoyed the virtual workouts Garrity provided, but didn’t have the motivation to do them.
“I need actually coming to the gym,” Insley said.
Gloria Stir, another member at Champion City CrossFit said she was glad that gyms were allowed to reopen.
“I’m really glad, but I still think people need to be safe and distance yourself and take precautions because I don’t want this flaring back up,” Stir said. “We do have to be careful, but we have to workout. Like me, I have to keep pushing myself to be strong.”
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Other precautionary measures gyms are taking include tracking who comes in, keeping showers closed, having members enter through one door and leave through another and limiting members to being in the gym for one hour at a time.
“We are keeping up with the protocols and it is a good, wide-open environment that people can feel welcomed in,” Fourman said. “The healthier you are and the more active you are, the better your immune system is going to be.”
People were also happy to see bowling alleys reopen.
Jacob Schoening from Huber Heights came to Northridge Lanes on Moorefield Road with his two cousins because other bowling alleys in the area were closed.
“We live about 30-35 minutes away and all the lanes close to the house were closed,” Schoening said. “We saw Northridge was open and we decided to make the trek out here.”
He explained that they were excited to get out and have some fun together.
“We missed it. We’ve been kinda bored without it,” Schoening said. “It’s what we do for fun, so it’s really nice to see that things are starting to open back up and get back to normal.”
Sheri Leffel, assistant manager at Northridge Lanes said it felt great to reopen.
“We’ve been looking forward to it,” Leffel said.
She explained that they have done everything they can to get the equipment and lanes ready by sanitizing and deep cleaning.
As bowlers return, they should expect to see some changes like having no more than six people on a lane and fewer lanes and seating available due to social distancing guidelines.
After individuals are done bowling, they will be instructed to leave used equipment at the lane they were using. Employees at Northridge Lanes will then clean the area, Leffel explained.
“We are going to clean the lane from the foul line back, just to make sure we get everything cleaned that they may or may not have touched,” Leffel added.
She said that they want to make sure people feel safe and can have a good time.
“I think everybody is pretty much as excited and anxious as we are to get back in the swing of things and come out and have some type of recreation and fun,” Leffel said.