Reopen NYC: Virtual inspections underway gyms ahead of reopening

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The New York City Department of Health will conduct virtual inspections on gyms before they open on Wednesday to make sure facilities are following the new guidelines to keep customers and staff safe.

A video call will consist of the gym operator showing posted safety plans, the supply of face coverings, social distance markers and health screening records.

"We worked with the state on the virtual as a way to get started because the timing was so tough," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "The virtual inspections will at least allow our inspectors to get a sense of things, make sure that things are OK, or if there is a problem, address it immediately...We'll then be doing ongoing in-person inspections as those inspectors' times free up as school starts and child care gets going."

Gyms that fail inspection will have to close until any problems are fixed.

"We've been in the gyms for a couple of weeks getting the gyms ready," said Matthew Prybylski, senior area manager of Blink Fitness in Park Slope. "And every time our team goes in and out, the public on the street is like, 'When are you open? When are you opening?"

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Blink has already reopened gyms upstate and on Long Island.

"Members are very understanding," Prybylski said. "I think we live in a much different society right now, and people understand we have to hold ourselves a little bit differently."

De Blasio said this approach makes sense given everything else that's going on.

"Their timing happened to correlate exactly to the moment where we were getting ready to open school and open childcare, and we need to focus the Department of Health inspectors first and foremost on those locations," he said.

Some gyms in New York City will shut down for periods of time for cleaning, but that's not happening at Blink, Instead, they'll stay open and staff will continuously clean throughout the day.

"We want to make sure members and our team are confident in coming back," Prybylski said. "Because they will keep coming back."

For now, there will be no indoor group fitness classes, and these rules also apply to gyms in residential buildings.

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