News & Opinion » News

Gyms get the green light to reopen, but not cinemas

by

VIA WXXI NEWS, CREDIT NYS FITNESS ASSOCIATION, FACEBOOK PAGE
  • VIA WXXI NEWS, CREDIT NYS FITNESS ASSOCIATION, FACEBOOK PAGE
Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday that gyms in New York can reopen as early as August 24, but must operate at one-third of their regular capacity.

Cuomo said the gyms can open as early as next Monday, but with several restrictions. Capacity must be limited to 33%, masks must be worn at all times, and there will be mandatory sign-in procedures and temperature checks at the door. Heating and cooling systems must be improved to avoid potentially recirculating the coronavirus, and what are known as MERV-13 filters are required.

Cuomo said the reopening of gyms has lagged behind other reopenings in New York because of lingering safety concerns.

“It is an area of concern. That’s why we went slow on it,” said Cuomo.


He said New York’s low infection rate — just 0.71% of all test results received Sunday were positive — was also a factor in his decision, as was the need to reopen the economy.

Local governments will be tasked with inspecting all of the gyms before they are allowed to reopen. The governor said the openings can be delayed until September 2 if localities need more time to do that.



Many gyms also hold fitness classes; Cuomo said the classes can restart, but only if the local health officials say they believe it is safe.

Movie theaters, though, will remain closed for the time being. The governor said cinemas are “not high on the list of essential” services and present risks.

“It is congregate, it’s one ventilation system, you’re seated there for a long period of time,” Cuomo said. “Even if you are at 50% capacity, where there's one seat between the two of you, two seats between the two of you, this is a risky situation.” Many movie theaters across the state have lost millions of dollars in ticket sales and have laid off hundreds of workers. They argue that they can reopen safely.

Karen DeWitt is Albany correspondent for WXXI News.