To the relief of many fitness buffs, New York gyms have been given the green light to reopen under strict COVID-19 restrictions.
During a COVID-19 briefing on Monday, Aug. 17 in Manhattan, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that gyms and fitness centers can reopen as of Monday, Aug. 24, provided certain safety guidelines are followed.
Once open, patrons will have to wear face coverings at all times, and gyms can only open up to 33 percent capacity. It will be up to local governments to determine whether or not gyms can hold indoor classes.
The state has also mandated specific ventilation units that must be installed before reopening that could curb the spread of COVID-19.
Before opening, municipalities will have until Sunday, Sept. 2 to inspect facilities to ensure gyms are following the mandates put in place by the state.
“(Opening up any business) is tough, it’s all a balance,” Cuomo said. “So are gyms any tougher to open up than a bowling alley or restaurants?
“But gyms are one of the areas you have to be very careful about. We’re going to research what has happened in gyms across the country, see what the best protocols are according to our health officials, and implement the best guidelines.”
Cuomo reiterated that while the state will be monitoring the reopening it is key that local governments enforce the restrictions and guidelines put in place.
“The localities have a role here,” Cuomo said. “They have to inspect the gyms before they open or within two weeks of their opening to make sure they’re meeting all the requirements.”
As an added safety measure, Cuomo said that gym-goers will have to sign in and out at the front desk in the event there is an outbreak of positive COVID-19 test within the facility.
“Gyms are going to say that these are difficult guidelines, and they are,” Cuomo said. “But the masks … they’re so effective, and it’s a sin that this nation still has not mandated masks.
“But by doing this, our contact tracing is basically done,” he continued. “We can go to the list, see who was in the gym and when they were there. They’re very tight guidelines, but we feel comfortable with them, and if they end up being a problem, we’ll roll it back.”
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