Hurricane Ike Shuts Down Health Clubs

HOUSTON -- Many businesses, including health clubs, are still suffering the effects of Hurricane Ike after it ripped through southeast Texas over the weekend.

The storm closed 35 24 Hour Fitness clubs in the Houston area, according to an e-mail from 24 Hour spokesperson Alexei Rudolf. Of those 35 clubs, 24 were back in operation on Friday. Power outages were the most prevalent problem at the clubs, writes Rudolf, who adds that some clubs suffered major roof and gas main damage along with broken glass panes.

On Friday, 24 Hour announced that it was opening its Houston-area clubs to all members of any locally-owned or national chain fitness club through Sept. 30. These members can access the 24 Hour clubs with their club’s membership card. Non-members can receive a free seven-day pass at a 24 Hour club. Also, 24 Hour has opened its clubs’ workout areas and locker room facilities to Houston-area emergency crews, relief workers and other volunteers who have been sent to help the region recover from Hurricane Ike.

Gold’s Gym clubs in Houston had minimal damage but could be without power for weeks, according to Ginger Collins, the executive director of the Gold’s Gym Franchisee Association. Houston Gold’s Gym owners traveled to Austin, TX, to avoid the storm before heading back home, Collins adds.

An Anytime Fitness owner in Spring, TX, which is in north Houston, says he will be without power for four weeks, according to an e-mail from Anytime Fitness corporate spokesperson Mark Daly.

Calls made to health clubs in the Galveston, TX, area, which suffered the greatest impact of Hurricane Ike, did not go through on Wednesday.

Houston-area YMCA facilities that have power opened their doors Wednesday to all members of the community who wanted to take showers and charge their batteries for cell phones and laptop computers, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Web site, www.chron.com. Of the 41 YMCAs that are a part of the YMCA of Greater Houston, 13 had power on Wednesday, 10 of which had showers available for public use, according to the newspaper. To use showers, people needed to bring their own towels, shower shoes and toiletries. All children 15 years of age or younger needed to be accompanied by an adult.

CenterPoint Energy, the largest utility company in the Houston area, estimates that 50 percent to 75 percent of its residential and business customers will have power in the next seven days, according to the newspaper. As of Tuesday night, 1.43 million of CenterPoint Energy’s 2.2 million customers were still without power.

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