13-year-old says fitness center not compliant with mask wearing, company says not true

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A 13-year-old Local 10 viewer, who has tried to bring levity to a difficult situation by naming his pet birds COVID and virus, said he was disappointed in his interactions with a Fort Lauderdale fitness center.

Martin Ostry, who spends time working out with his father, Jerry, said when he complained to Planet Fitness management about people he believed were not complying with Broward County’s mask mandate, that complain was answered with an unannounced cancellation.

Meanwhile, his father said the company continues to bill them.

“They have to not wear their masks when they are working out that kind of concerned me because all these people are sweating and breathing on each other and I didn’t feel safe there,” Martin said.

Jerry, in his 60s, has underlying health conditions so following New Normal public health guidelines is a critical necessity for both Martin and Jerry.

“We only found out about it because we went to work out one day – we have only been members there for a week – they didn’t give us our money back and they said they would but they didn’t. Not only did they not give us their money back, but they keep charging us more and more,” Jerry said.

According to the Broward County Emergency Order facial coverings must be worn unless actively exercising.

“Facial coverings must be worn while entering, exiting, or otherwise moving within the establishment,” the emergency order states.

Local 10 visited the location where Martin Ostry said he saw people not complying with the mask mandate.

Our cameras captured members that appeared to be in compliance with the mask mandate rules.

In a statement to Local 10 from Planet Fitness Senior Public Relations Manager Becky Zirlen, she said that the company does have a mask policy, which requires members to wear masks at all times at their facilities except while actively working out.

“At Planet Fitness, our members and employees are our number one priority, and we remain committed to providing a safe and clean environment where everyone feels comfortable. We have a universal mask policy that has been in place at all of our clubs since August 2020, which requires members to wear masks at all times within our facilities except while actively working out. Our Fort Lauderdale location follows this policy which adheres to local health official guidelines. In this instance, a member was under the assumption that masks were required while actively exercising, and a staff member informed the member of this policy. We can confirm the member in question did have his membership revoked after displaying inappropriate and intimidating behavior.”

That’s an allegation that Jerry denied when we read the company’s statement to him over the phone.

He was relieved to hear, however, that the fitness center does have a plan to refund him for his recent dues.

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