After weeks of inspections and regulations set in place, gyms were allowed to re-open in New York City on Wednesday, after a long closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. With restrictions in place and masks made mandatory, a lot of fitness enthusiasts in the city have heaved a sigh of relief.
Although gyms and fitness centers have opened their doors to patrons, each gym is required to pass a mandatory virtual inspection undertaken by relevant authorities. Moreover, no indoor groups and classes have been allowed until further notice, as social distancing still remains to be of utmost importance. Swimming pools across the area will continue to be closed due to the heavy risk of contamination and transmission.
Many gym-goers have expressed sheer joy over this re-opening. Whilst talking to reporters at ABC, Justin Rushing, and Shanchelle Mitchell were lined up and ready to make up for lost ground outside their Brooklyn gym, saying, “I haven’t been able to hit legs at all, now’s the time. Every day I’ve been counting down the days. It’s a good day!”
Whilst schools are set to re-open on a delayed date of September 21st, at Crunch Gym in Union Square, gym-goers said it felt like the first day of school.
Eyewitness News found customer Sharon Moore wiping down the treadmill she just used — one of many changes at gyms – and she said felt the gym was doing what they can. “There’s a risk anywhere, but I felt they were trying to protect us,” she said. “We’ll see how it goes,” she expressed.
Over at Crunch, the staff has spent months getting ready, blocking off and spreading out machines for social distancing. All the required signage is up, sanitizer is everywhere and the air filtration system meets standards when it comes to COVID-19. “It’s going to take a few months to kind of climb out of this hole, this big void we’ve had,” CEO of Crunch Keith Worts said.
Elaborating on the catastrophic economic effect of the pandemic, Worts also claimed that he had to lay off almost 3,000 employees and is negotiating with landlords about rent owed.
Gyms in the city can only operate at 33% occupancy which in this space, which is roughly 20,000 square feet, only 107 people will be allowed inside at one time.