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Are gyms open? What rules or safety guidance must they follow?

Last Updated: 11/05/2020

All gyms and fitness centers may reopen indoor and outdoor spaces so long as they follow required social distancing and other safety protocols. This also applies to health club facilities located in hotels, motels, condominiums, cooperatives, and corporate offices.

Mask Requirement

Under Executive Order No. 192, all employees, customers, and visitors must wear a face covering while on the premises (indoors and outdoors), except when an individual is under two years of age or where it is impractical like when eating, drinking, or receiving a service that cannot be completed while wearing a mask.

Employees, customers, and visitors who refuse to wear a face covering may be declined entry, except when doing so would violate State or federal law and provided the employer complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination where applicable.

Employers may permit employees to remove their face covering when they are at their workstation at least six feet from others or alone in a walled space such as an office. Employers must provide face coverings to their employees.

For more details and exemptions, refer to page 4 of Executive Order No. 192.

What To Expect in Outdoor Spaces of Gyms

The following summarizes some of the protocols contained in Executive Order No. 157 and Executive Order No. 192. However, this summary is not a replacement for fully complying with the terms of Executive Order No. 157 and Executive Order No. 192, and businesses should read the full guidance carefully to ensure full compliance.

Gyms and fitness centers must institute the following policies:

  • Limit total capacity of any outdoor area to a number that ensures that all individuals can remain six feet apart
  • Limit occupancy in restrooms that remain open to avoid over-crowding and maintain social distancing through signage and, where practicable, the utilization of attendants to monitor capacity
  • Require frequent sanitization of high-touch areas
  • Limit the use of equipment rented or otherwise to one person at a time, excluding immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners, and sanitize such equipment before and after use
  • Require reservations, cancellations and prepayments be made via electronic or telephone reservation systems to limit physical interactions

What to Expect in Indoor Spaces of Gyms

The following summarizes some of the protocols contained in Executive Order No. 181, Executive Order No. 192, and the Department of Health's guidance for health clubs/gyms/fitness centers. However, this summary is not a replacement for fully complying with the terms of Executive Order No. 181, Executive Order No. 192, and the Department of Health's guidance for health clubs/gyms/fitness centers, and businesses should read the full guidance carefully to ensure full compliance.

Gyms and fitness centers must institute the following policies:

  • Limit occupancy of any indoor premises to 25 percent of the stated maximum capacity, if applicable, at one time, excluding staff.
  • In addition to capacity restrictions, indoor group activities (e.g., classes) can occur but must limit to no more 1 individual per 200 square feet of accessible space or less, AND all individuals must be able to maintain a minimum of 6 feet of distance from other individuals during the entire class.
  • Conduct a temperature screening and questionnaire of staff and clients upon entrance to the facility.
  • If individuals attending outdoor classes enter the center premises, whether to use a restroom or otherwise, they must be included in the capacity limit indicated above.
  • One-on-one personal training can occur assuming 6 feet of distance can be maintained for the majority of the training session.
  • Individual or pair activities which do not involve contact (e.g., racket ball, handball) can also occur.
  • Keep doors and windows open where possible and utilize fans to improve ventilation.
  • Inspect and evaluate the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit to ensure that the system is operating within its design specifications
  • Limit locker room use to hand washing and restroom use
  • In gyms with pools, limit shower use to individually partitioned showers or communal showers with installed barriers/partitions; in other gyms, showers are not permitted
  • Shared saunas and steam rooms are not permitted.

For a full list of social distancing policies safety requirements, refer to sections 7,8, and 10 beginning on page 13 of Executive Order No. 157 and Executive Order No. 192.

Requirements to Protect Employees and Others

Employers must comply with the following requirements:

  • Require workers and customers to maintain at least six feet of distance from one another, to the maximum extent possible;
  • Provide approved sanitization materials for employees and visitors at no cost to those individuals;
  • Ensure that employees practice hand hygiene and provide employees with sufficient break time for that purpose;
  • Routinely clean and disinfect all high-touch areas in accordance with DOH and CDC guidelines;
  • Prior to each shift, conduct daily health checks, such as temperature screenings, visual symptom checking, self-assessment checklists, and/or health questionnaires, consistent with CDC guidance;
  • Do not allow sick employees to enter workplace and follow requirements of applicable leave laws;
  • Promptly notify employees of any known exposure to COVID-19 at the worksite; and
  • Clean and disinfect the worksite in accordance with CDC guidelines when an employee at the site has been diagnosed with COVID-19 illness.

Detailed requirements and exemptions for certain employers can be found in the full text ofExecutive Order No. 192.

Source: Executive Order No. 157; Executive Order No. 163; Executive Order No. 181, Department of Health guidance for health clubs/gyms/fitness centers; Administrative Order 2020-21; Executive Order No. 192