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NY gyms can reopen as soon as Aug. 24; masks required, health officials to conduct inspections

Posted at 11:46 AM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-17 17:56:31-04

NEW YORK — Gyms in New York state can reopen as soon as Aug. 24 as long as the establishments follow certain guidelines, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.

Gyms can reopen at 33% capacity as long as HVAC changes are made, and masks must be mandated at all times, Cuomo said.

Cleaning and disinfecting supplies must be available to customers, and shared and rental equipment must be cleaned after every use. Staff must also be available to clean equipment between uses.

Water bottle refilling stations are permitted, but not shared water fountains.

Gym-goers must sign in with contact info and a health screening, and classes are to be by reservation or appointment only.

Minimum 6-feet social distancing is required, and class capacity is to be capped at the number that can appropriately social distance, but not more than 33% of a typical class size.

Air handling and HVAC systems must meet new standards for ventilation and mitigation.

Local health authorities must inspect gyms before they open or within two weeks of when they open.

Localities must determine whether or not to open them by Sept. 2. Localities can also determine whether gyms can hold indoor classes.

While gyms were given the green light by the state, it could take more time for local governments to implement the reopening.

In New York City, delays are likely, a spokesperson said.

“There’s no higher priority than making sure our schools and child care centers are safe for learning in the fall, and the city’s dedicated team of inspectors will continue prioritizing that work," a New York City spokesperson said. "While indoor fitness classes and indoor pools will not be opening at this time, we’ll be developing a fair and rigorous inspection system for other gym setups in the coming weeks.”

Gyms have been shut down since March in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Cuomo said Friday he would make an announcement regarding the guidelines needed to reopen gyms.

Gyms were among the entities excluded from Phase 4 of the state’s reopening.

Many gym owners have argued their facilities are clean and safe for their members and employees, and over 1,000 of those gyms have since filed a lawsuit to demand a reopening.

New York has one of the lowest infection rates in the country, according to the governor. The state reported a 0.71% positivity rate Sunday.