Reopening New Jersey - Just do it: Gyms and fitness centers reopen

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Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Gyms and fitness centers reopen in NJ with restrictions
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Toni Yates has the latest details as New Jersey gyms and fitness centers reopen on Tuesday.

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- New Jersey took another big step forward Tuesday on its road to reopening, with gyms across the state back in business with restrictions.

Eyewitness News was at Crunch Fitness on Kennedy Boulevard in North Bergen as dozens of people moved in to start their workouts around 6 a.m.

"It's a nice way to do cardio, and it's fun," Justin Bambico said. "I want to take it day by day. I don't want to get too comfortable yet, because you don't know what's going to happen."

But so far, he's pleased to see everyone following the rules: wearing a mask and keeping their distance.

Every other treadmill is closed, and capacity is limited to 25% with temperature checks at the door.

Members could be seen wiping down barbells after a workout, and employees out wiping down benches with disinfectant.

"So right now, we have everything 6 feet apart," manager Alberto Velazquez said as he showed me around. "The benches are 6 feet apart."

Related: Atilis Gym in Bellmawr defies gym closure order

Velazquez said that back in March, the North Bergen Crunch Fitness froze the accounts of roughly 7,000 members and furloughed all of their roughly 40 staffers.

So far, they've hired back about half -- but the journey back to financial health won't be easy.

"We thought it would be maybe a month, maybe two months," Velazquez said. "So, you know, it was almost six months. It's been a very difficult time for all of us."

One positive sign was the long line of people waiting to get in before dawn Tuesday.

"No, it wasn't enough," he said of trying to work out at home. "You can't bang some weights. People live underneath you. In here, you get to be free again."

But Ana Ruiz is still deciding whether she's ready to lunge back into the gym full time.

"I'm trying it out to see how it goes," she said. "But so far it feels OK."

Governor Phil Murphy's executive order covers all health clubs, including fitness centers, indoor amusement parks and water parks.

All of these are now permitted to open at 25% capacity.

MORE NEWS: Family kicked off flight after 2-year-old daughter refused to wear a mask

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