New Yorkers are about to lose one of the reasons for packing on what some healthcare providers are calling the COVID 15, or quarantine 15 — as in 15 pounds of weight gained since the onset of social distancing and the closing of gyms and other public venues.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday (Aug. 17) that gyms can reopen beginning Aug. 24 at up to one-third capacity if they meet new ventilation requirements, patrons wear masks and local authorities approve the reopening, CNBC reported.
“There are health requirements that are in the guidelines that have to be maintained,” the governor said.
Cuomo said reopening gyms is reasonable because daily positive COVID-19 tests are “averaging 1 percent or under since June, and that is exactly where we want to be.”
Cuomo also chided “quote ‘experts’” who advised against reopening New York establishments due to the risk of a COVID-19 surge.
“We said maybe if we are very careful if we do it right and phased, that we can avoid that, and we avoided it,” Cuomo said. “New Yorkers did what they said couldn’t be done because that’s what New Yorkers do.”
Shares in Planet Fitness jumped on the news and were up 1.7 percent as of 1:49 p.m. EST Monday. They are at more than twice the lows they posted in the first weeks of social distancing but have suffered short-term setbacks with reports of new infections, and the reopening of gyms has played out in fits and starts.
Some fitness centers have responded to the crisis by expanding their operations into new areas of business, especially online workout guidance. One thing gym operators learned quickly was that their payment systems in most cases were not up to the task of billing for remote services.
The reopening of gyms in New York follows Cuomo’s announcement Friday that bowling allies will be allowed to reopen with certain conditions in place — and they will be permitted to operate at 50 percent capacity.