While the entire state is in the fourth and final phase of Cuomo's reopening plan, gyms are one of the few businesses that remain shut down statewide. During his press briefing on August 17th, Governor Cuomo announced the guidelines for gyms to reopen.

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"Gyms are one of the areas where you have to be very careful and we know that," said Cuomo.

Reopening for local gyms can begin as soon as August 24th. Cuomo said reopening can happen at 33% capacity with masks being required. The 33% capacity requirement was determined by health and space officials.

  • Patrons will be required to sign in to aid tracing contacts if someone at the gym tests positive for the coronavirus.
  • Gyms will have to install strong air filters, similar to those required of businesses like malls.
  • The state is also recommending health screening for patrons, such as temperature checks.

Localities will be holding inspections and will be the ones to determine whether gyms meet the criteria to reopen, and have two weeks to complete the inspection. This includes the ability to be able to hold indoor classes. Inspections must be done by September 2nd by local officials and the health department.

"They have to inspect, because, how do we know that the gyms are following the guidelines?" said Cuomo.

Cuomo mentioned that reopening gyms isn't the "hardest" but it's an "area of concern."

"That's why we've spent so much time on it."

Here's what else we know:

  • 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 a 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).