WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - A weight has been lifted:
“The gyms can open as soon as August 24th,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo.
August 24th is next Monday, a day the fitness industry has been looking forward to.
“We’re really excited to get people in the building and just to make sure we are keeping people healthy,” said Watertown YMCA CEO Denise Young.
In order to do that at facilities like the Downtown Watertown YMCA, the state is requiring that each gym install a specialized air filtration system.
Young has already checked that off of her list.
“We did that a month and a half a go,” said Young.
Gyms also cannot exceed 33% capacity, a health screening, which could include a temperature check, will need to happen at door, and each person will have to sign in.
But what about masks?
They'll be mandatory at all times.
Personal trainer Sam Benzing says face coverings might shift peoples’ gym going habits.
“I think people will turn to different forms of cardio like biking outside, swimming. I mean, it’s still warm out and it will be into September, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more people heading towards the weight section or even just the outdoor section that we have now,” said Benzing who works at Double Play Fitness Center in Lowville.
But before gyms get the go-ahead, they’ll need to pass an inspection. That responsibility rests with each county.
“We will do everything that we can at the county level to expedite this situation and get these fitness centers back open,” said Jefferson County Legislature Chair Scott Gray.
Gyms will also need plans for cleaning and disinfecting equipment and fitness classes will be allowed only with the say-so from local governments.
“It’s our part now to make sure that we do it safely,” said Gray.
While gyms can open next Monday, the reality is it may take a little longer as gyms finalize their safety plans and get their inspections completed.