West Chester: LA Fitness Reopens Basketball Court

Gym patrons returned to the basketball court under special guidelines for the first time since March 2020.

LA Fitness in West Chester reopens basketball court.

Members of the LA Fitness in West Chester have gained more access to gym amenities.

Recently, the gym opened its basketball court. This was the first time the court has been open since pandemic restrictions began in March of last year. As expected, it did not take long for the court to fill up and for games to take place. 

LA Fitness employee Peter Sweeney said the decision to reopen the court came as a surprise. 

“We got an email from corporate about it two weeks ago,” Sweeney said. “I was pretty surprised at first since the virus, it’s pretty close contact, so I did not think they would open it up so soon.”

According to The New York Times, cases of COVID-19 in Chester County have been on a downward trend. During the holiday season, cases had a spike and reported a weekly average of 8,313 cases. Recently, cases have gone down to a weekly average of 3,824 cases. 

Despite the decrease in cases, Jack Nazarewycz, the club manager at the gym, said safety protocols for the courts are still in place.

“Currently we are only allowing 10 guys on the court at a time and everyone has to wear masks,” Nazarewycz said. “So far everyone has followed this. We haven’t really had any issues or complaints so far.” 

Even so, Nazarewycz said employees have had to ask some players to keep their masks on. 

“Some people from the training area have kept a close eye on players not wearing their masks, but we have employees periodically walking by the court to enforce the rule,” Nazarewycz said. “The safety protocols for the court is stricter than the rest of the gym areas so if players aren’t willing to wear them, the courts could be closed again.”

Additional rules were written on a sheet inside the court and asked that players bring their own basketballs, sanitize their hands before and after they play, and no loitering allowed from inside the court. 

Bernard Cenek, a member of the gym, is grateful for the reopening despite the safety precautions.

“I’m very grateful. For like a year I was paying about thirty bucks a month and it was going to waste,” Cenek said. “I’m not big on lifting and I do not really like cardio machines, I just like to play ball. So when the courts opened back up I thought finally my money will not be wasted.”

The reopening is one of several in Pennsylvania. According to Nazarewycz, LA Fitness basketball courts have reopened in all counties besides Philadelphia County.

Text and photo by Juche Jackson.

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Editor’s note: Our special reporting on COVID-19 may focus on communities outside Philadelphia because many of our student journalists are now temporarily located outside of the city. Instead, our reporters will cover how the coronavirus is impacting their own communities from across the country and around the world. We will return to hyperlocal coverage of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods as soon as possible.