Gyms can now open at 33% capacity on Monday according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo
CORNING - After being closed in mid-March, local gyms can now open at 33 percent capacity on Monday according to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The announcement came as a sigh of relief to local gyms after the five and a half month layoff.
"We’re pretty excited, definitely, we are ready," said Martiza Lopez, co-owner of Snap Fitness with locations in Corning, Elmira, Horseheads and Pen Yan. "We have been ready for a while, We’re excited to welcome back our members."
Many thought gyms would get the green light when Steuben County entered phase four of reopening on June 26, but gyms and fitness centers were left off the list.
"There were times when we just didn’t see the end," said Lopez. "That was the frustrating part because we couldn't plan accordingly. A week before phase four of reopening, we were hurrying trying to get ready for it just to be told a few days in advance that we would not open. It was tough."
Places like Snap Fitness have offered classes on Facebook live for members and are even offering customers hybrid memberships that include workouts and training online along with access to the gym just in case there is some trepidation about a return to the facility amid COVID-19.
"We understand people are concerned, so we wanted to give them another option," said Lopez.
The governor and state officials have laid out a summary of guidelines for the opening of gyms which, locally, includes a virtual inspection from the Steuben County Public Health Department that the gym must have conducted before it is allowed to reopen.
To pass the inspection and remain open, gyms must adhere to all of the guidelines, including those around masking, social distancing, sanitation, capacity, air filtration and signage. The Steuben County Public Health Department will conduct inspections virtually utilizing Zoom, where owners/operators will provide a tour of the facility’s safety measures and answer questions from inspectors.
At Snap Fitness, which runs 24/7 and uses a keycard system for entry, protocols have been put in place in regards to the max capacity.
When individuals go into Snap Fitness, the gym’s Facebook page will be updated every 15 minutes to notify people what the capacity currently is and the keycard system will shut off if the gym has reached max capacity.
"Having the tech will help people plan their visit," Lopez said. "If they see on Facebook the gym is almost at max capacity, they can wait if they feel uncomfortable or plan to go to one of our other facilities."
The Corning Community YMCA has laid out guidelines for reopening and their plans on their website at https://rochesterymca.org/community-buildings/reopen/?utm_campaign=coschedule&utm_source=facebook_page&utm_medium=YMCA%20of%20Greater%20Rochester. The YMCA is planning a phased reopening beginning on August 28.
The YMCA has put out guidelines in regards to other amenities besides just the gym, including the pool area where capacity is capped at 33% for water aerobics and individuals must register ahead of time to swim laps. Steam rooms, whirlpools and saunas will remain closed.
Both the YMCA and Snap Fitness have policies in regards to contact tracing in the event that the gym is exposed to COVID-19. Contact tracing has been an emphasis from Governor Cuomo and the Steuben County Health Department to help identify and notify those that may have been potentially exposed to the virus.
Local gyms have introduced classes outside to reduce the risk of an outbreak of COVID-19. The outdoor classes have been well received.
"We have been hosting outdoor cycle and Zumba classes since mid July," said Pam Cowan Chief Marketing & Experience Officer for the YMCA of Greater Rochester. "It is our intent to continue making limited outdoor classes available, weather permitting, even after we open."
Full guidelines on the reopening of gyms laid out by Governor Cuomo can be found at https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-gyms-and-fitness-centers-can-reopen-starting-august-24