Mayor Says NYC Must Prioritize Health Dept. Inspections At Child Care Centers, Schools First

UPDATE 8/19: Caitlin Girouard, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press secretary, released the following statement. “The guidance is clear – any gyms or fitness centers that meet state guidelines for reopening can do so as early as August 24th. We will work with the city on the inspection timetable but the reopening of gyms can be postponed no later than September 2nd, and while inspections aren’t a prerequisite for reopening, we expect all gyms to be in compliance with our guidelines.”

The original story below was published on 8/18. 

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City gyms preparing to reopen next week will now have to wait a bit longer after Mayor Bill de Blasio threw cold water on the plan Gov. Andrew Cuomo previously announced.

Twenty-four hours ago, Coach Steve “Fury” Holiner was a bundle of energy after hearing the governor was allowing him to reopen his Gowanus gym.

RELATED STORY: Gov. Cuomo Announces Plan For Gyms To Reopen For First Time Since Pandemic Struck; Bowling Alleys Reopen Statewide

By Tuesday afternoon, that excitement turned into anger when the mayor said not so fast.

“You guys run the greatest city on earth. Please talk to each other about this. Like, it’s not an unfair ask,” Holiner told CBS2’s Christina Fan.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

The confusion began when Cuomo announced Monday that fitness centers can re-open on Aug. 24 as long as there is a 33% capacity limit, mask wearing, and a health department inspection within two weeks of opening.

Under state guidelines, gyms must also require everyone to sign in, keep six feet apart and have proper ventilation.

On Tuesday, however, de Blasio said exercise had to take a backseat to education.

“Based on the reality in New York City, we won’t start before Sept. 2,” he said. “The priority, especially given the proximity to Sept. 2 to Sept. 10, priority is going to be on the inspections we need to do for child care centers and schools. We are going to work through how to balance that.”

Gym owners who have been closed five months now say they’ve invested thousands of dollars in new equipment and have already opened locations safety in other states.

“We’ve got a really great readiness plan, a very good safety plan, the protocols are in place, things like we’ve got extra cleaning stations around the gym,” said Keith Worts, CEO of Crunch Signature.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Some owners are asking the mayor and governor to allow them to open now and extend the deadline to fulfill the mandatory health inspection.

“Give us time to schedule it. Because we are ready, the city and the state are not ready,” Holiner said. “So just give us the breathing room so that we can open.”

They say every delay will force the closure of more businesses.

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