Many fitness studios and gyms still waiting for green light

New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have mostly made decisions and imposed restrictions in unison the last six months. One exception to that strategy pertains to the reopening of gyms, which reopened in parts of New York state on Monday but not in New York City.

Patricia Ruiz last taught a pilates class in person more than five months ago. She closed one of her four locations to cover the rent at her other three Moving Strength pilates studios in New York City during the coronavirus lockdown. She teaches zoom classes to clients across the country for 13 hours a day to pay the bills. And she joined a lawsuit with other pilates studio owners in the state in hopes of forcing Gov. Andrew Cuomo to legally recognize her business as inherently different from a big traditional gym.

"They are not even thinking about accommodating us or separating us from the big gyms. They've just thrown us into one lump," Ruiz said. "It's been really difficult."

So Moving Strength has remained closed as the state has required. And Patricia's clients have traveled to Connecticut all summer long to exercise in the open gyms there.

"We were expecting the governor to make a move last week and unfortunately, still nothing," said Ryan Valentine, the club manager of the Planet Fitness in Middletown, New Jersey. He said he knows nothing about when his state might allow his gym to reopen.

"I know once we reopen we'll have big crowds and we'll be back to normal," he said.

And that might be exactly what Gov. Phil Murphy fears. But Valentine argues his gym is prepared to meet every safety sanitization and distancing action the state will eventually require.

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The Planet Fitness Corporation's 99 clubs across the country mean Ryan's gym likely need not worry about closing and can afford the cost of adding those extra safety measures.

"48 states are currently open for gyms so I don't see why we can't be open too," Ryan said.

But the thousands of dollars Patricia spent on special U.V. lights and humidifiers will make it more difficult to balance her business' books.

"We do no more than four or five people at a time even when we're at full capacity," she said.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has said city gyms can open with restrictions on Sept. 2; per the governor they would need to be inspected by the city within two weeks of reopening. In the meantime, New Jersey's Murphy said he plans to watch how the gym reopening goes in New York before making a decision in his state.