SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Gym owners and its members continue to ask the million-dollar question: “When can gyms reopen?”
Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon is in full support of Central New York’s fitness centers reopening and even offered the county as a pilot community for the rest of the state.
All 2,111 gyms spread across New York State have been closed and empty since March 16 and folks are eagerly awaiting to get back in their routines.
On Thursday, fitness center owners, members and elected officials teamed up and hosted a press conference to represent the New York State Fitness Alliance, in an effort to shed a light on reopening safety protocols.
“The unknown of when we can provide our members with these services again has been extremely trying. We’ve put our heart and souls into running our studio and changing lives for the better,” said Vanessa Palmer, owner of OrangeTheory Fitness.
But it only seems like things have gotten worse for Vanessa and her co-owner, Heather.
It’s been really tough to have no end in sight and not only going through struggles as owners, but feeling helpless of not being able to help our employees and help them pay their bills has been really difficult, and we’ve done everything we can to prevent that.Heather Fuleihan, Owner, OrangeTheory Fitness
The alliance, confident they can prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their gyms with an extensive safety plan.
Safety measures include:
- Limiting the number of people in the gym
- Requiring face masks for employees and members
- Mandatory health screenings
- Sanitizing surfaces and equipment
- Adequate ventilation throughout the facility
- Advanced contact tracing
“We can control a lot more than even we feel some business that are already open. So, we do struggle to understand why we are not allowed to reopen and take all of the precautions and even more than some businesses that are already operating,” Heather Fuleihan.
We believe very strongly that with the combined efforts of the State Department of Health, the Governor’s office, our local leadership, and these very prudent gym owners and their employees, that this is a sector that can reopen.
But we’ll never know if we can reopen gyms safely unless we give it a shot.Jennifer Tifft, Deputy Commissioner of Business Development, City of Syracuse
In a conference call Thursday afternoon, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his team is looking into alternatives, but didn’t offer any timeline for gyms to reopen.
Cuomo said according to health experts, gyms are a high-risk activities.
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