UPDATE: On July 13, the day Santa Clara County allowed health facilities to reopen, the county Public Well being Division launched a press release within the afternoon that reversed its up to date order as a result of it was not too long ago added to the state’s monitoring record, successfully shutting down all gyms by Wednesday, July 15. Learn extra here.
Beginning Monday, gyms and health facilities which have been shuttered for months all through Santa Clara County will lastly be allowed to reopen. However they are going to should comply with some fairly stringent guidelines that go far past what the state requires.
County well being officers launched guidelines this week outlining how gyms and health amenities will likely be allowed to reopen beginning Monday, July 13, marking the tip of 4 months of necessary closures because of the coronavirus pandemic. Patrons will likely be required to put on face coverings always — even whereas exercising — and gymnasiums should cap the variety of clients based mostly on the sq. footage of the ability.
Maybe essentially the most onerous restriction is the blanket ban on any indoor cardio and cardio workouts, together with using treadmills, train bikes, elliptical machines and any exercise that “induces heavy respiratory and elevated coronary heart charge.” Indoor dancing and calisthenics are additionally prohibited, as are indoor and out of doors contact sports activities.
In drafting the foundations, well being officers say gyms and health facilities are necessary to reopen, but in addition pose important public well being dangers, with communal tools and heavy respiration largely going down indoors, the place the chance of transmission is greater.
“Gyms and health amenities should take additional precautions to scale back the chance of COVID-19 transmission for purchasers and employees,” in line with the rules. “Gymnasium and health actions are strongly urged to maneuver actions and tools outdoor wherever doable.”
Different counties that had been faster to reopen gyms, together with San Mateo County, have largely deferred to state guidelines for their very own security precautions. These guidelines nonetheless require loads of precautions, together with frequent and thorough cleansing of locker rooms and showers and requiring employees or patrons to wipe down tools and mats earlier than and after every use, however are noticeably extra lax.
In Santa Clara County, all locker rooms, showers, indoor swimming pools, spas and saunas should stay closed.
YMCA health facilities will likely be reopening later this month in a phased method, with some branches opening on July 20, adopted by one other batch opening July 27. Joey Sanchez, the communications director for YMCA of Silicon Valley, stated the nonprofit is taking the additional time to look by means of the county’s necessities for a clean opening.
“We’re not planning to leap in as rapidly as doable simply because it is accessible,” he stated. “We’re ensuring that every thing they’re requiring is adhered to, that every thing is correctly sanitized and all our personnel are correctly skilled.”
Sanchez stated the YMCA has an edge within the sense that it already has expertise reopening gyms in San Mateo County earlier this month, albeit beneath a really totally different algorithm. He stated the operations workforce was shocked to see Santa Clara County will likely be requiring face masks always, even when clients get to their station and start understanding.
The indoor prohibition on cardio exercises may even be robust to navigate, and should require them to push a few of these actions outdoor, he stated.
“The shock for us was not being allowed to do indoor cardio. That is an enormous factor for individuals coming to the Y clearly, and so we’ll have to search out other ways for individuals to work out.”
One other sticking level is the cap on the variety of individuals allowed inside at any given time, restricted to 1 employees member per 250 sq. ft inside the ability and one buyer for each 150 sq. ft. YMCA facilities in Santa Clara County will seemingly have to make use of a reservation system to maintain observe of capacities, Sanchez stated. Anybody to see when particular person YMCA areas will open can test the nonprofit’s [www.ymcasv.org/reopening-guide reopening webpage.
24 Hour Fitness, which operates more than a dozen gyms in Santa Clara County including two in Mountain View, is expected to reopen all of its local facilities right on July 13, with some big changes in mind. Open hours are being cut down, and gyms will have 30 minute closures during the day for club cleaning in between 60-minute workout sessions. Members are asked to make reservations one day in advance of showing up, and in other counties have been required to wear masks “unless extreme physical exertion or health restrictions” would prevent it.
In order to adhere to social distancing, the fitness center chain has decommissioned cardio and strength equipment previously packed tightly together to ensure proper spacing.
Planet Fitness, a national chain that operates three gyms in Santa Clara County, declined to give a start date for its reopening plans. Becky Zirlen, a spokeswoman for the club, said that safety is a top priority, and that the reopening date will be determined with that in mind.
“Now more than ever it’s important to stay active, in order to stay healthy, and we look forward to safely and responsibly welcoming our members back,” she said.
On top of social distancing and other health requirements, the chain will have to curtail its tradition of serving up pizza and bagels to its members, with county rules prohibiting indoor dining at fitness centers. Similar to restaurants, gyms can still serve up takeout meals or allow patrons to eat outside.
Gyms will be reopening as part of a larger update to the county’s health restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, which will also allow hair salons, nail salons and activities that can safely accommodate small gatherings. The order, announced on July 2, was briefly thrown in limbo over the Fourth of July weekend when state officials initially denied the county’s plans. After a confusing back-and-forth, state officials finally gave Santa Clara County the go-ahead to proceed with its reopening plans on Monday.
The coronavirus and mandatory shutdown of fitness centers across the country has had a disastrous financial impact on gyms, which are among the last businesses that have been allowed to reopen. 24 Hour Fitness, based in San Ramon, announced last month that it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and will shutter 100 locations throughout the U.S., including 13 Bay Area locations spanning from Morgan Hill to Fairfield. The two gyms in Mountain View will remain open.
Kevin Forestieri writes for the Mountain View Voice, the sister publication of PaloAltoOnline.com.