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Photograph: John Angelillo

When will gyms reopen in NYC and what will it be like to work out?

The city's gyms tell us to expect lots of extra cleaning, social distancing protocols and lowered capacities.

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After being cooped up in tiny apartments for the last two months, it’s not surprising that many New Yorkers are eagerly awaiting the day when they can once again return to the city’s gyms. That day, however, may still be a long way off. So don’t throw out those home weights quite yet.

Some businesses in New York will begin reopening on May 15 as soon as Governor Cuomo’s PAUSE order, which initially shut down the state, expires. That process will most likely begin in upstate regions before New York City is able to start opening up. 

In order for the city’s businesses to start reopening, NYC will have to meet a number of requirements including a steadily dropping death rate, a safe capacity throughout the healthcare system and a program in place for effective contact tracing. As of May 4, the city has met just three of those seven requirements. So… it could still be a while!

But when the city’s reopening does actually begin, it will happen in four phases. The first phase will allow for low-risk businesses like construction and manufacturing to start up, as well as curbside pickup of items for stores. Phase two will allow a wider range of businesses to reopen including those in the finance, real-estate and administrative support industries. Phase three will center on the hospitality industry, allowing restaurants and bars to reopen, and the final phase will work to open theater, museums, schools, sports venues and artistic institutions.

Which of those phases do the city’s gyms fall into? Well, it’s not entirely clear. There’s currently a lot of confusion over which businesses fall into which categories. (For instance, are gyms considered recreational or retail?) That will most likely be clarified in the coming weeks and is up to the state based on how early openings progress. However, the Trump administration has made gyms a high-priority business to open nationally.

RECOMMENDED: Here's what New York's phased reopening will look like

One thing that is certain, though, is that gyms will look a lot different when they reopen than they did before the shutdown. The next time you visit your local gym, you can expect to find a lot more cleaning of equipment as well as new signage and rules to help you social distance.

“Since we closed, we’ve used the shutdown as an opportunity to rethink our entire approach to the gym experience,” a spokesperson for Crunch told Time Out New York. “Our new protocols provide masks for team members, increase our frequency of deep cleans and disinfecting throughout the day, add more sanitation stations for members to wipe down equipment before and after their workout, and increase access to hand sanitizer. Additionally, we made changes to facilitate social distancing, including taking some cardio equipment out of service and reducing the size of our group fitness classes.” 

Crunch will also be asking all members to do the following when they reopen: 

  • Be kind, considerate and mindful of their fellow members when in the gym
  • Maintain six feet between them and other gym goers
  • Use their Member App to facilitate touch-less check-ins
  • Use new signage throughout the gym to help navigate and social distance
  • Clean all equipment before and after use
  • Try to limit their gym time to 60 minutes
  • Please stay home and take advantage of their Crunch Live online workouts

Another chain with multiple locations throughout the city, Planet Fitness, says they expect to be taking a phased approach to reopening. 

“At Planet Fitness, the safety of our team and members is our top priority. As local regulations allow, we will begin to execute a thoughtful and phased reopening approach,” a company spokesperson told Time Out New York. “In doing so, we will take a number of steps to protect the health and well-being of our team members and members, which include enhanced cleanliness and sanitization policies and procedures, physical distancing measures, reducing physical touch points in the club, and more.”

Until gyms are finally able to reopen in the city, here’s a useful guide to all of the do’s and dont’s of exercising in New York right now.

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