Suffolk County will Host Virtual Meeting with Gym and Fitness Center Owners in Advance of Reopening
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced the County’s plan to safely reopen gyms, in line with Governor Cuomo’s announcement earlier this week. The County will initiate a staggered reopening schedule, beginning with commercial gyms and indoor classes that will be allowed to reopen on August 24. Each facility will be subject to a County health inspection to ensure proper protocols are in place and adhere to State guidelines to protect customers and staff. Hotel, office, higher education, and residential gyms will be allowed to reopen on August 31.
The County will also host a virtual meeting with gym and fitness center owners on Thursday, August 20, to review guidance, provide clarifications and answer any questions to ensure each business is able to reopen safely. Those interested in participating should register here.
“With our infection rate holding steady at or below 1 percent and a robust testing system in place, we are confident we can reopen gyms in a way that is both safe and responsible,” said Suffolk County Executive Bellone. “I want to remind our residents and gym owners that we are still in the midst of a pandemic. The tides may shift in this battle at any minute and we must do everything we can to prevent a second wave. So be smart, wear a mask, and follow all safety protocols.”
Commercial gyms and fitness centers that generate revenue, such as Planet Fitness, LA Fitness, Retro Fitness, and those that require a membership fee, will be allowed to reopen on August 24, and may continue to operate as long as they pass their inspections. In line with the guidance provided by New York State, inspections must be completed within a two week time span of the facility opening.
The Suffolk County Department of Health Services will begin inspections on Monday, August 24 for commercial, traditional gyms. The Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning will work in conjunction with the Suffolk County Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs and the Suffolk County Department of Health Services to launch an online database of all gyms and fitness centers located within the County.
Prior to the inspection, gym owners and managers will have to complete the affirmation for each facility location, which can be found on the NY Forward website, that they have reviewed and understood the New York State guidelines and will implement these protocols. Once an attestation form is submitted, Suffolk County will begin the process of scheduling inspections. Each facility will receive an automated email with a scheduled date and timeframe for the inspection, along with other critical information.
Finally, gym owners are required to develop a written safety plan outlining the measures that the business will take to protect their employees and gym members from COVID-19. Businesses must have this plan available for review and also conspicuously posted at each location.
Facilities will be required to close communal showers, whirlpools, saunas/steam rooms, water fountains and self-serve bars and samplers. While classes will be allowed to proceed, the following guidelines must be met, in which the most restrictive guidelines should determine maximum class capacity; 6 feet of distance in all directions for all class participants, class size will be limited to 33% capacity of total class size, no more than 50 people.
Additional requirements include sanitizing stations, acceptable face coverings that do not include bandanas, buffs, and gaiters, and the limitation of physical contact activities such as boxing and martial arts. In addition, at each inspection, businesses will receive a gallon of NYS Clean hand sanitizer.
Gym owners can call Suffolk 311 or visit the Suffolk County BRU website, www.suffolkcountyny.gov/bru to answer questions or learn of the latest updates.