Gyms to start reopening in New York, Cuomo says

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that gyms and fitness studios will be allowed to reopen for the first time since March but must abide by several new rules, including limiting occupancy and mandating the wearing of masks.

Gyms will start being allowed to open on Aug. 24 as local governments inspect them. The local governments must finish inspections by Sept. 2 so that all gyms will be allowed to be open by that date. 

But Mayor Bill de Blasio's office said that inspecting gyms is not a priority so it isn't clear when facilities in New York City will actually open.

Gyms will need to operate at 33% occupancy and all guests will need to wear masks. HVAC systems must meet state guidelines as part of the requirements.

"While it's encouraging that we've reached the point where it's acceptable for them to begin reopening in our communities, this is not the time to forget that the pandemic is ongoing," Cuomo said in a statement. "New Yorkers must closely adhere to the guidelines and local health departments are required to strictly enforce them to help ensure gyms and fitness centers reopen safely and protect the public health."

A trade group for gym owners had filed suit against the state in an effort to be allowed to reopen.


Guidance for Gyms and Fitness Centers (via Governor's Office)

  • 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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