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August 26, 2020

New Jersey residents can return to the gym next week – with face masks

Patrons must sign forms agreeing to adhere to health protocols

Fitness Gyms
New Jersey gyms reopen Victor Freitas/via Unsplash

New Jersey gyms have been shuttered since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But they can reopen Sept. 1, 2020.

New Jersey gyms and health clubs can resume operations Tuesday for the first time since the early days of the coronavirus crisis. 

But when fitness centers do reopen, they will be required to follow strict COVID-19 health and safety protocols. 

Gov. Phil Murphy confirmed the news on Twitter after NJ Advance Media first reported the story Wednesday morning.

Capacity must be limited to 25%, face masks must be worn at all times and equipment must be kept six feet apart in order to promote social distancing. All patrons must sign a form saying they adhere to the fitness center’s health and safety guidelines.

Gyms will be required to keep a log of workers and clients, including their names and phone numbers, so that the information can be made available to contact tracers if the facility experiences an outbreak.

Indoor group activities, such as cycling classes, must be restricted to one person for every 200 square feet of space in the room. Equipment must be frequently cleaned and sanitized.

"Gyms are among the most challenging indoor environments to prevent COVID-19 transmission," Murphy said. "But, given where we are in this fight, we believe we are ready to take the next step forward. Thank you to our many gym owners and gym members who have helped us crush the curve."

Murphy ordered all fitness centers to shut down in March as the COVID-19 crisis escalated. 

Only outdoor workouts or private individual instruction have been permitted at gyms since July. Such indoor workouts have had to be conducted in separate rooms or with a physical barrier in place. 

Indoor amusement facilities can reopen on Sept. 1 as well at 25% capacity. Such venues were ordered to close in March at the height of the pandemic.

Outdoor amusement and water parks, including boardwalk rides at the Jersey Shore, reopened at 50% capacity in July.

Indoor dining at restaurants and bars across New Jersey could resume soon, Murphy said Wednesday. Indoor dining has been banned for the entire COVID-19 pandemic.

Delivery and takeout service have been permitted for the entire public health crisis, while outdoor dining across the state resumed in June.

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