Fitness centers, chiropractors look for silver lining amid shutdown in Illinois

Illinois business owners in the wellness arena who have been deemed nonessential and shuttered by the governor as part of a larger effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the state are struggling and hoping to be able to salvage the businesses they’ve built when allowed to reopen.

Among other businesses, Pritzker’s stay-home order, issued last week, meant gyms and maintenance chiropractic practices had to close.

Casey Acree co-owns Summit Systems LLC in Mt. Zion. He said Summit Systems anticipated the move to close certain establishments after watching news coverage of the spread of the novel coronavirus. He said the business offered to cancel contracts, but many clients stayed on for remote coaching services.

“And that was received pretty well by our clients,” Acree said. “And I think they appreciated that honesty and that openness about the realistic times that we’re in that for a small business we need to keep having income coming through to be able to take care of our families as well.”

He said Summit Systems wants to be able to re-open when the crisis passes and keeping clients onboard will help.

It’s a different story for Todd Austin, a maintenance chiropractor with Austin Family Chiropractic in Virden. He said he’s never seen anything like this.

“That a government can just come in and shut me down for two weeks, along with the virus,” Austin said. “It’s unprecedented.”

While Austin said chiropractors who treat nothing but pain are considered essential, he said he and other maintenance chiropractors were at the mercy of the governor.

“We just have to go along with it even though it means we’re not here to serve our patients and it means that we’re basically doing without income,” Austin said. “Some of us will survive this and some of us won’t, so there will be some practices in Illinois that close down, I’m sure of that.”

Austin said he also doesn’t have any income from properties he owns because he waived April’s rent for tenants.

“I have zero income and now I have zero rent coming in too, so it’s kind of a double whammy,” Austin said.

The governor’s stay home order goes through April 7.

For others who aren’t able to go to their local gym, Acree said it was a good time to focus on nutrition.

“Making food planning and meal prepping something that they then carry over once we do get to go back to work,” he said.

Acree also said any movement, such as playing with the kids or cleaning and yard work, counts as exercise.

Austin recommended in stressful times people maintain proper nutrition and get readjusted, but his shop isn’t open to provide that service.

“Quite honestly, before two weeks ago, I planned on being the guy here in Virden adjusting patients until the day I keeled over … but at this point, I’m honestly thinking, how should I say this, greeter at a Walmart in Missouri sounds a lot better than self-employed anything in Illinois.”

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