New York gyms can reopen at 33% capacity, but not yet in NYC

The news came days after Gov. Cuomo declined to offer a timeline on reopenings.

August 17, 2020, 10:12 PM

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced that gyms could reopen in the state at limited capacities as early as Aug. 24.

However, fitness junkies in New York City will have to wait a little longer, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio's office.

Fitness centers across the state will have a 33% capacity limit, and masks will be required at all times. Facilities will also have to undergo inspection to stay open.

City authorities will be tasked with inspecting fitness centers at least two weeks ahead of scheduled reopenings. Localities will also have to determine if gyms in their area are permitted to host classes, Cuomo said.

There will also be other health and air filtration requirements in place.

"The localities have a role here. They have to inspect the gyms before they open or within two weeks of their opening to make sure they're meeting all the requirements," Cuomo said. "The local elected officials will make the decision in a jurisdiction and the local health departments must inspect before or within two weeks to make sure all the guidelines are in place."

PHOTO: Alexa Hoovis lunges with a weight held over her head during an outdoor workout organized by Jetty Gym in Oceanside, N.Y., July 20, 2020.
Alexa Hoovis lunges with a weight held over her head during an outdoor workout organized by Jetty Gym in Oceanside, N.Y., July 20, 2020.
Al Bello/Getty Images, FILE

But New York City, which health data says still has the highest number of new daily cases in the state, will not reopen its indoor gyms or fitness classes on Aug. 24. De Blasio told NY1 News that he had not read the executive order and needed more time.

"We're very cautious on this one because we remember how bad it was just months ago," de Blasio told the local news network. "I think the state was right to make sure that there was local decision making on a lot of important specifics. We're going to be cautious with that local decision-making and choose to take a conservative approach."

The long-awaited announcement came days after the governor declined to offer a timeline on fitness center reopenings, saying, “Now is not the time,” citing surging COVID-19 infection rates in states that reopened gyms without proper protocols in place.

Many states, including neighboring New Jersey, have been exploring ways to safely reopen gyms and other recreational facilities in recent weeks with most areas entering the final phases of their respective reopening plans.

Some experts have recommended opening gyms in limited capacities, with strict restrictions on machine usage.

Several reopened states, including Arizona, have moved to re-close gyms.

“We know gyms are highly problematic from the other states. They opened them and they had to close them," Cuomo told reporters earlier this month. "We're here, poised delicately on this island of New York state with this sea of spread all around us, so we know we have this storm and we have to be very, very careful."

The governor’s office recently said that it was monitoring daily test results from across the state in an effort to pinpoint potential hotspots ahead of time.

ABC News' Aaron Katersky and Ivan Pereira contributed to this report.