Gym owners are finally getting the news they've been waiting for: They'll be allowed to reopen, with some restrictions.
“Five months of having your business closed down has been very trying on myself, our staff, their families, our members and the community at large,” said Elevate Fitness Owner Tom Muller. “We’re just excited to have a start and prove to everyone that gyms are safe.”
Among the restrictions, gyms will have to operate at 33 percent capacity, which is something Blink Fitness and other Central New York gyms have been preparing for.
“We’ve reorganized to allow for availability of equipment and make sure people will feel spacious and safe during the gym,” said J.J. Potrikus, the area manager of Blink Fitness across Upstate New York.
Everyone will have to get a temperature check and health screening, and masks will be required the entire time.
Gyms will also have to have the proper air filtration.
Local health departments will have to conduct an inspection within two weeks of opening.
Onondaga County has set aside $150,000 for both gyms and bowling alleys, among the last businesses to reopen.
In a presser Monday, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon says it's another task on an already overloaded health department, but it's a challenge the county is accepting.
"We'll make the commitment. We're not going to have someone sitting on the sidelines, or startup and have to go backwards because of us. We'll get it done," said McMahon. “We’re happy to play the role to get these businesses going. We believe that gyms are critical to public health.”
Local leaders will have the final say on any indoor classes that are offered.
Owners Spectrum News spoke with say they're excited, even if there's still some uncertainty.
"A lot of our members are going to have a lot of questions. They want to feel safe. We need to communicate the protocols to them so they understand what we’re doing for their safety and certain things are unclear, like the pools with lessons, nursery, those kinds of things," said Muller.
“We feel that fitness is absolutely essential for people’s healthy immune system, for their mental health, so just continuing to preach that exercise isn’t just about looking good, it’s about how it makes you feel,” said Potrikus.
Some gyms will be able to open as early as next Monday, and counties will have to allow all gyms to open by September 2, giving them time to conduct inspections.