Bellevue gym takes heat for staying open during pandemic; officers say it's OK

BELLEVUE, Neb. (WOWT) -- A large Bellevue fitness center remains open for business. It’s not just clients getting in workouts, so are the police. They’re checking on compliance with health guidelines.

Bob Sterba, with Bob’s Fitness Center, said, “Block these off that way someone can be on that piece of equipment and someone way over here 8 feet away.”

Bob Sterba has seen critics weighing in on social media.

Sterba said, “These erroneous complaints that are coming in I think are malicious. When someone says I’m giving out dollar bills to people so they can become employees I can tell you that is not the same perspective as someone that’s concerned about COVID-19.”

A busy parking lot is one reason for three complaints called into Bellevue police.

Andy Jashinske with Bellevue Police said, “Our officers have come and checked on it.”

They’re making sure everyone is six feet apart and no more than 10 people in any of the dozen workout rooms of the 45,000 square foot gym.

Jashinske said, “We are paying attention to this and everything I’ve seen it appears that company here is doing a great job. We have no reason to believe there are any violations here.”

Bellevue officers have also made three unannounced inspections.

Bob’s is open 24/7 and there are about 60 clients who come in after-hours when no staff are around but Bellevue police have a key fob so they can come in and check anytime to make sure the gym is in compliance.

Gym staff routinely take headcounts clean equipment hourly and replenish sanitizer. Alternating cardio machines shut down to force six-foot spacing. All so clients workout within health department guidelines.

“I think its keeping everything controlled and safe, I feel safe coming here every day,” said a member.

Sterba says to his knowledge no COVID-19 cases have been reported among his gym members.

Sterba said, “We are going up and beyond what has been put out as far as the guidelines were supposed to follow.”

Just like gyms members, Sterba says he’ll continue to maintain COVID-19 prevention procedures and as long as they’re followed, he’ll exercise his right to stay open.

The fitness center has twelve employees who still have jobs. The Sarpy/ Cass Health Department tells us gyms are allowed to remain open under the guidelines. Health officials have been working with police to ensure compliance.