Long Island gyms reopen with new safety guidelines
Gym owners and gym-goers are equally excited for the long-awaited reopening of workout centers across Long Island.
"Finally," exclaimed the owner Sportset Health & Fitness Club in Rockville Centre, Dennison Silvio. "A little bit back to normal. A step in the right direction."
Darrius Lawson, a fitness enthusiast from Valley Stream, shared in his excitement.
"It feels amazing, actually. I'm happy to be back!"
Billy Veriano, from Oceanside, said he's happy to take care of what some are calling the "COVID-15."
"I definitely put on weight cause it was a hot summer and as soon as June hit, the running outside was not for me. I just like running on a treadmill."
When you head back to the gym, you can work out on your favorite piece of equipment. It will just be six feet apart from any other machine. To help enforce social distancing, only 33% of clients are allowed inside at a time. At Sportset, they've even created tape bubbles around weight machines.
There are some gyms taking extra precautions to make sure you stay safe when coming inside, installing touchless doors, requiring that you make a reservation on your phone to work out before you come in and additional cleaning crews and machines.
Indoor classes are allowed, but many gyms are keeping their outdoor schedule as they can accommodate more people and to have options for those who don't feel safe inside quite yet, like Mary Ann Malizia, from Rockville Centre.
"I'm worried about being in a closed area with everyone breathing hard even with their masks on. And I don't think I can do that. I'm older so I don't think I can exercise with the mask on. I won't be comfortable."
Masks must be worn inside at all times at indoor gyms.
"It's uncomfortable. It really is," said Lawson.
Lawson added that he is sticking to weights as he doesn't think he'll be able to do cardio and wear a mask. It's a problem Nassau County Executive Laura Curran is already working on.
"I know most states don't have that, so let's see how it goes and maybe that restriction can be eased," she explained.
Dr. Brian Polsky, of NYU Winthrop Hospital, says he doesn't recommended wearing an N95 mask while working out -- a cloth mask is more feasible. But he says working out with a face covering is safe.
"There's no evidence at all that wearing a mask properly reduces oxygen in the blood stream and into the vital organs. It's not harmful for health but it's just an extra burden," says Polsky.
Gyms must also be inspected by their county's Health Department within 14 days after opening. The inspection will determine whether or not they meet the state's COVID-19 guidance and can hold classes.