August 22, 2020
“Gyms will not reopen before Sept. 2nd”, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday, a few days after Gov. Cuomo stated on Monday that gyms will be able to open up as early as the 24th of this month, with a 33% capacity limit, while staying six feet apart and wearing a mask at all times.
Going to the gym in the middle of a pandemic can be stressful and cause anxiety for many fitness fanatics. Whether you plan on going to the gym on opening day or two months from now, here are a few guidelines to follow to get your workout on and stay safe from COVID-19 (official guidelines for gym and fitness center employees can be found here).
Although it may be uncomfortable to breathe with the mask on, this is essential to minimize the risk of contracting COVID-19. The official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website states that if you are unable to wear a mask (due to breathing conditions), “Consider conducting the activity in a location with greater ventilation and air exchange (for instance, outdoors versus indoors) and where it is possible to maintain physical distance from others.”
According to Gov. Cuomo’s guidelines, gyms should provide cleaning supplies and disinfectant to the public. Employees should be disinfecting before, after, and in between uses.
To minimize the spread of COVID-19, it is advised by the CDC to keep a safe distance of six feet in between people. This includes running on the treadmill, whether alone or in group classes. As per Cuomo’s instructions, “Maximum class capacity capped at number of people that can adhere to the 6-feet social distancing rules, but in no case more than 33% of the typical class size (i.e., leave stations, cycles, etc. vacant).”
This should come as no surprise, but sharing water bottles or even the communal water fountain is a big no-no right now. Water fountains are common carriers for germs (especially the bowl, as some drinkers spit before they drink). The CDC recommends that gyms consider closing water stations and water fountains, except for no-touch bottle refill stations.
Similar to communal water fountains, using a communal shower is highly discouraged. It is best to shower at home where it is a little more private and the likelihood of spreading the virus or becoming infected is reduced.