New York City gyms reopen after 5 months of pandemic closures

Museums, aquariums, and bowling alleys are also reopening this week in NYC

Crunch gym in New York CityA closed Crunch gym in New York City during the coronavirus pandemic
A closed Crunch gym in New York City during the coronavirus pandemic
(John Lamparski / Getty Images)
Updated: September 2, 2020 - 12:43pm

Gyms in New York City reopened Wednesday, the most recent move by officials to get the city running again as the coronavirus pandemic continues past its initial strength. 

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo shut down all New York state gyms in mid March to prevent the spread of the novel virus, which claimed the lives of 30,000 New Yorkers – the most of any state in the country. 

Even as the city's rolling average for positive virus testing fell to about 1% and retail stores and restaurants -- for outdoor dining only -- reopened in the city, gyms remained closed as municipal inspectors paid extra attention to the venues that may be high-risk vectors for the spread of the disease.

The city is also spending the next two weeks making sure public schools are in good standing, in terms of health and safety precautions, to welcome students back to part-time in-person learning on September 21. 

NYC gyms will not be operating in the same way they were prior to the global pandemic. Standard fitness facilities, which provide weights and exercise machines, will reopen, and one-on-one sessions with personal trainers are allowed to commence. Group fitness classes, however, including yoga, cycling, dance and pilates studios, have not yet been given the go-ahead to reopen. 

Gyms will also only be allowed to fill up to 33% of their usual capacity, social distancing measures will be in place, and all patrons will be required to face health screenings on arrival and wear masks during their workouts. 

Some gym owners are concerned about reopening following months without revenue to an experience their customers – one third of them, anyway – may not like. Though there is a considerable faction of New Yorkers who will excited to return to their to workout regiments, owners remain nervous about the new landscape, especially compounded with the significant cost of reopening. 

Local health officials will be conducting virtual inspections of all gyms within two weeks of their re-openings. 

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