TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Phil Murphy says gyms can reopen at 25% capacity starting on Sept. 1.
Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, the governor went into detail about what life will be like in gyms going forward in the age of COVID-19.
“Gyms are among the most challenging of indoor environments, as noted by multiple epidemiologists and experts, even in the past several days and weeks. But given where we are in this fight we believe we are ready to take this step forward,” Murphy said. “I know this has been a long time coming, and I thank the many responsible gym members who have done the right things and worked with us over the past several months. You are an asset to your industry, and our state. And I thank you for your understanding and partnership.”
WATCH: Latest On Gyms Reopening In New Jersey
At Base NJ in Jersey City, more than just the workout music was getting gym lovers pumped.
“The energy of being around people in a live class, in person is magnetic,” instructor Kara Hermes told CBS2’s Christina Fan.
Hermes is ecstatic about the news, not just because it means more revenue, albeit limited, but because she can now hold classes indoors.
The classes, however, must be spaced out so every person has 200 square feet of space. That will also apply to fitness activities like Pilates and yoga classes that were already permitted to resume.
“I moved from Los Angeles to Jersey for a job opportunity and then COVID hit, so I lost everything and now that the gym has been reopened for outdoor activities it makes me feel a lot better and the stress level is definitely lower than what it was,” said Igor Krichmar.
The reopening, of course, comes with a long list of guidelines.
Gyms are required to operate at 25% capacity, equipment must be kept six feet apart, and masks are mandatory.
“In our cardio area, we have every other machine turned off so you won’t be ever next to somebody. We have the Plexiglass at the front desk,” Hermes said.
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The push to re-opening gyms has been especially contentious in New Jersey.
As early as May, gym owners started holding rallies. Others were fined by the police and arrested for opening in defiance of the law.
Warren Feldman, who owns Signature Gym, says he can understand the frustration.
His 55,000-square-foot facility plummeted from 1,400 visitors to 25 per day.
Murphy’s announcement has him hopeful now.
“It’s six months without revenue, so it’s a difficult short-term problem, but we’re thinking out long-term,” Feldman said.
Thousands of gyms have been forced to shutdown for nearly two months due to the pandemic.
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