NJ gyms allowed to reopen at limited capacity starting Sept. 1

Gyms, health fitness centers, and indoor amusements across New Jersey will be allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity starting Sept. 1, announced Gov. Phil Murphy Wednesday.

Speaking during a news briefing on the coronavirus pandemic in Trenton, Murphy said all locations would be required to follow safety protocols to prevent the spread and transfer of COVID-19.

Fitness classes will be allowed to resume with one person per 200 square feet. All gym-goers must wear masks including employees and staff. Logs of when all gym members are in the facility must be maintained for contact tracers if there is a positive case at that location. Gym equipment must be spaced to allow for six feet of social distancing. Pilates and yoga classes must follow the same protocols.

"Gyms are the most challenging of indoor environments," said Murphy.

His stance on keeping them closed lead to the arrest of the owners of Bellmawr Gym in South Jersey after they defied orders to remain closed earlier this summer.

Other gym owners have been anxiously awaiting the ban to be lifted.

"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. "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.

Guidelines for reopening indoor amusements will be released in the coming days, added Murphy.

Get breaking news alerts in the FOX5NY News app. It is FREE! Download for iOS or Android