RICHMOND, Va. -- On Friday morning, social distancing and capacity restrictions were lifted in Virginia, allowing many to return to their pre-pandemic activities like working out.
Chris Lawyer said that he remembered the exact day of the week that the coronavirus forced his gym's doors to close.
The owner of RVA Weight Room was at first thankful for a break in the action.
"I went home, you know, tried to unwind a little bit and then had an idea that this could go on for a while," Lawyer said.
With COVID-19 restrictions limiting gym operations, he had to rent out his equipment to members in order to keep his Scott's Addition gym afloat.
"I just don't see where you had a choice, you had to do something," Lawyer said.
For him, the lifting of restrictions in Virginia on Friday was welcome news.
"For the most part, I would say you're pretty safe to go out and do what you used to do," Doctor Melissa Viray with the Richmond-Henrico Health Districts said.
Viray said that those who are vaccinated can safely return to pre-pandemic life. However, she adds that people should feel comfortable taking it at their own pace.
"There is nothing wrong with continuing to mask, continuing to say, Well, you know what, I am in a crowded place with people. there's a lot of different kinds of folks here, vaccinated, unvaccinated, the ventilation isn't very good. I'm not as comfortable. There's nothing wrong with that," Viray said.
"We've got about 20%, 25%, who haven't come back yet, who continue to message me and talk about the gym. I really want to see them back. I miss those people," Lawyer said.
He said that he can't wait to see people closer together supporting one another and working towards one common goal.
"This gym was designed for people to train together. Learning and enjoying the experience of sharing a thing with a person I think is so important to everybody from a mental health perspective," Lawyer said.