Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that gyms and fitness centers are allowed to reopen; the governor placed the reopening into the hands of the local county health departments to oversee. The Madison County Health Department wants owners to know what the guidelines are and how to reach out for an inspection.

Madison County Board of Supervisors Chairman John M. Becker also announced that he is granting approval so gyms can host indoor classes within the state guidelines, and as long as they able to open per the MCHD.

“Our local gyms have waited patiently for the day they could reopen their doors,” said Becker. “That time has finally come. I have confidence that gym owners, as well as clients, will work hard to keep everyone safe. They will adhere to cleaning protocols, as well as wear face masks, that is why I am authorizing gyms to also host indoor classes. Exercise is important to everyone’s health and mental well-being. We have been facing very challenging times and getting people back to being able to do physical activities, especially as the cold weather approaches is a great milestone for our community.”

The guidance applies to fitness activities and facilities, including, but not limited to, standalone, hotel, residential and office gyms and fitness centers, gyms and fitness centers in higher education institutions, yoga/Pilates/barre studios, boxing/kickboxing gyms, fitness boot camps, CrossFit or other plyometric box classes and other group fitness classes.

The guidance documents can be accessed at the NY Forward website under Phase 4 industries or on the Madison County website.

Gyms and fitness centers can reopen in Madison County starting Aug. 24, 2020, if the following requirements are met:

1. Read the guidance and prepare a safety plan using the NYS Safety Plan Template (links to NYS Forward website).

2. The safety plan must include the required certification of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system by a professional as identified in the guidance. Include details of your facility’s air handling system(s) or air handling plans in the “other” section of the reopening safety plan. If your facility does not have an HVAC system or one under operator control, you will need to submit that information and a description of the ventilation procedures being taken in accordance with the guidance.

3. Submit your safety plan and HVAC certification by email to health@madisoncounty.ny.gov. Include the name of your facility and a contact phone number in the subject line of the email.

4. Review the Gym guidance document (links to NYS Forward Website) and submit your affirmation to the state through the link at the end of the Gym guidance document (links to NYS Forward Website).

Refer to the detailed guidance for more information, as well as these requirements that are specific to gyms and fitness facilities:

Capacity: 33 percent occupancy limit.

PPE: There are special requirements for face coverings at gyms and fitness centers.

Classes: By appointment/reservation only; maximum class capacity limited by the six-foot social distancing rules, but in no case more than 33 percent of the typical class size; cleaning and disinfection required between each session.

Air Handling Systems: Gyms and fitness centers should operate with MERV-13 or greater filtration. If they are unable to operate at that level, they must have an HVAC professional document their inability to do so and adopt additional ventilation and mitigation protocols. Documentation from a HVAC professional is required for all facilities with HVAC systems.

After the MCHD has received your plan and HVAC certification, the MCHD will contact you to schedule an inspection or request additional information.

For more information about the novel Coronavirus, visit madisoncounty.ny.gov/2479/Coronavirus-COVID-19 or call the Madison County non-medical COVID-19 Hotline at 315.366.2770.

By martha

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