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Governor says gyms can reopen on Aug. 24 at 33% capacity

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 August 2020 at 11:59 am

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that gyms can reopen in the state as early as Aug. 24, but they must be at 33 percent capacity and users must be wearing masks at all times.

Local Health Departments need to inspect the sites before they reopen or within two weeks of reopening.

The gyms also must have HVAC systems in place that meet state guidelines, Cuomo said.

Cuomo gave local officials the authority on whether indoor classes can be offered inside gyms.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. The Governor’s Office provided the following additional information:

Local elected officials may choose to delay the reopening of gyms and fitness centers until Sept. 2 to provide time for required local health department inspections. Or they could delay the reopening of indoor fitness classes until a date beyond September 2, Cuomo said.

Localities can also determine whether gyms postpone resumption of indoor classes. The county’s chief executive may decide to opt-out of indoor group fitness and aquatic classes within their jurisdiction, postponing their resumption until a later date.

Local health departments must inspect gyms prior to reopening, or within two weeks of reopening, to ensure strict adherence to Department of Health guidance.

Guidance for Gyms and Fitness Centers:

  • Capacity: 33% occupancy limit.
  • Access: Sign-in with contact information and health screening required.
  • PPE: Appropriate face coverings required at all times.
  • Distancing: 6 feet of separation at all times.
  • Hygiene/Cleaning: Cleaning and disinfection supplies made available to customers; shared equipment 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 (ASHRAE) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Inspection: Local health departments shall inspect before or within two weeks of the gym/fitness center opening to ensure compliance.

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