ALBANY, N.Y. – After closing for five months because of the coronavirus pandemic, gyms in New York state can finally reopen, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.
Cuomo says gyms can open as soon Aug.24, but should be opened by Sept. 2.
Gyms and fitness centers have been anticipating more guidance from the state on reopening, since they were excluded from Phase 4, which was the final stage of reopening.
Guidelines for gyms include operating at 33% capacity, ensuring proper ventilation and air filtration, and requiring masks at all times.
Gyms can open as soon as August 24 at 33% capacity with mandatory mask wearing and other strict health measures.
HVAC systems must meet guidelines.
Localities must inspect every gym before it opens or within 2 weeks of opening.
Localities must enforce regulations.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) August 17, 2020
Cuomo says local health departments must inspect gyms prior to opening, or within two weeks of reopening, to ensure all requirements are met.
"The localities have a role here. 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. That variation is to give localities time, if the localities need it. If the localities can get the inspections done or be ready to inspect, then they can open up Aug. 24," said Cuomo.
The localities will also determine whether or not each gym is allowed to hold indoor classes.
Here is a full breakdown of the state guidance:
- Capacity: 33% occupancy limit.
- Access: Sign-in with contact information. A health screening will be required.
- PPE: Appropriate face coverings will be required at all times.
- Distancing: Six feet of separation at all times.
- Hygiene/Cleaning: Cleaning and disinfecting supplies will be available to customers; shared equipment will be cleaned after every use; staff must also be available to clean and disinfect equipment in between uses; rental equipment must be cleaned and disinfected between customer use.
- Classes: By appointment/reservation only; maximum class capacity capped at number of people that can adhere to the 6-feet social distancing rules, but in no case more than 33% of the typical class size (i.e., leave stations, cycles, etc. vacant); classes should be scheduled to allow additional time for cleaning and disinfection in between each session.
- Amenities: Water bottle refill stations permitted, but not shared water fountains; communal showers are closed, but individual showers/stalls can remain open so long as they are cleaned in between use.
- Air Handling Systems: Gyms should operate at MERV-13 or greater; if they are unable to operate at that level, they must have heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) professional document their inability to do so and adopt additional ventilation and mitigation protocols from American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Inspection: Local health departments shall inspect before or within two weeks of the gym/fitness center opening to ensure compliance.
Gym owners say they are excited to open their doors after months on being closed.
“This is a day we’ve all been waiting for, all gym owners and gym goers," Alex Carbone, the owner of The Fitness Mill in New York Mills said. "All of our members have been asking me for five months now when we can open and we finally got a date which is wonderful.”
He says he's not really worried about the guidelines.
"The advantage that The Fitness Mill has is that we have a very large facility, so 33% capacity is going to be a lot of people in our gym," Carbone said.