New York City gyms may be slower to open, officials suggest
NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York City gyms won't reopen before September 2, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday, one day after Governor Andrew Cuomo gave localities that date as the deadline for which fitness centers in the state must open their doors.
Cuomo said Monday that gyms in New York state can open as soon as August 24 at 33% capacity and with other safety protocols, but New York City officials later suggested that reopening gyms may take longer in the city as the focus is on reopening schools safely.
"Based on the reality in New York City, we wont start before September 2," de Blasio said. "The priority is going to be the inspections we need to do for child care centers and schools. We are going to work through how to balance that."
Cuomo laid out full guidelines Tuesday, after previously saying requirements included masks, HVAC ventilation systems, and local government to complete inspections and have final say on indoor workout classes.
Whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms, and water fountains will be closed, but water bottle refill stations may remain open.
There will also be no communal showers, though individual showers may remain open provided that they are cleaned and disinfected between each use.
Bandannas, buffs, and gaiters are also not considered acceptable face masks, and free weight exercises that require a spotter are discouraged. If those exercises occur, an employee wearing a face covering should be available or the patron who is lifting weights should have a member of their household/party who is wearing a face covering do the spotting.
Patrons are also encouraged to bring their own towels and equipment such as yoga mats and hand weights to the extent possible.
Still, even though many gyms have been making preparations to open their doors, the focus for many is the potential delay in reopening New York City locations.
Pierre Calixte doesn't know how much longer he can afford for his gym, New York Ultimate Fit Zone in Bayside, to stay closed.
"Landlord call me every month, and she said she doesn't want to hear because she has property tax she needs to cover," Calixte said.
De Blasio said he understands gym owners wanting to get back to business and people anxious to get back to their workouts, but he said the stakes are too high.
"The priorities are going to be on childcare centers and schools," he said.
Calixte said he understands reopening gyms is complicated.
"But don't just ignore the fact that it's also good for the health," he said. "This disease attacks people with underlying issues. What does exercise does? It prepares us to survive. So they should have take more attention to the gym instead of just ignore us all together."
De Blasio said city officials are still reviewing the executive order, which says local elected officials may choose to delay the reopening of gyms and fitness centers until September 2 to, in part, provide time for required local health department inspections. It also says localities may also choose to delay the reopening of indoor fitness classes until a date beyond September 2.
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