With Long Island in the midst of “Phase 3” of reopening from the COVID-19 shutdown, Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin and Councilman Anthony D’Esposito joined with several owners of local gyms and fitness studio operators to call for a collaboration of state and local health officials, government leaders and business owners to ensure a safe reopening of these facilities in the near future. While “Phase 4” is set to begin on July 8th on Long Island, gyms and fitness studios are not expected to be part of that reopening phase. According to multiple reports, New York state officials have publicly indicated that they are “continuing to study” the potential opening of gyms, among others, and are. “evaluating what’s going on in other states” until officials are ready to reopen them.
Gathered in front of Sportset Health and Fitness Club in Rockville Centre with several gym and fitness center operators, a popular fitness center that remains shuttered since the state’s shutdown in mid-March, Clavin and D’Esposito, along with Town Clerk Kate Murray, demonstrated their confidence that these business owners have made the commitment to provide the safest environment possible for their customers. They urged state and local health officials to work with the gym and fitness industry to get the businesses reopened in a timely and safe manner as COVID-19 statistics continue to improve in the New York area.
“Gyms and fitness studios play a vital role in our township by supporting the local economy and promoting the maintenance and enhancement of physical and mental health,” Clavin said. “These men and women are not just business owners, they are dedicated members of our communities and deserve a chance to reopen, but in the safest manner for staff and for the public.”
“These business owners have been working day and night to prepare for reopening during this difficult time,” D’Esposito said. “Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is extremely important and many residents are clamoring to resume their fitness regiments. A partnership between businesses, government and the public will be integral to a safe and successful opening, and we are hopeful that gyms can welcome customers back very soon.”
Led by Supervisor Clavin, along with Councilman D’Esposito and the entire Hempstead Town Board, the Town of Hempstead has advocated for the safe reopening of businesses, and has provided support by establishing Long Island’s first Outdoor Dining Initiative and through a $2 million grant appropriated for small business PPE kits issued through the Nassau County Local Development Corporation.
“Gyms, health clubs and fitness studios, like other businesses that have endured through the COVID-19 shutdown, are part of the ‘Road to Recovery,’” Clavin said. “The Town of Hempstead has provided essential services to residents throughout the pandemic, established food banks, assisted healthcare facilities and small businesses, promoted outdoor dining options and led the safe opening of town beaches, parks and other recreation options for residents. During this ‘new normal,’ we’ve been open to ideas and are happy to work collaboratively with gym operators and all business owners to work toward safe reopenings.”
George Mifsud and Gregoria Myer, owners of G2 Training located in Syosset, have taken proactive steps to prepare for reopening, and have a comprehensive safety plan.
“The health and safety of our clients and team is always our priority and we’re going the extra mile to protect them,” Mifsud said. “Gyms and fitness studios are essential for the body and mind, and many of us are working hard to ensure that we can reopen and remain open in a safe manner for all.”
Some highlights of their plan, similar to many others in gym industry, include:
Social distancing guidelines, signage and markers indicating a safe, six-foot distance between gym-goers, trainers and other staff members.
PPE, including face masks and gloves, required for staff. Clients required to wear face coverings as well, except while vigorously training.
Enhanced cleaning protocols that include regular rigorous deep-cleaning and disinfecting processes and the usage of CDC-approved virus-killing cleaning products.
Regular symptom checkups of trainers and all staff members.
Temperature checks upon entering facility for both clients and staff members.
Increased hand sanitizer stations, touchless soap dispensers and disinfectant wipes throughout the facility.
Limiting capacity and spreading out training and class appointments.
“These business owners have a plan . . . to reopen safely with their clients and employees’ health in the forefront,” Clavin said. “We urge state and local health officials to take their strategies seriously, while listening and working together to help these business owners achieve their goals as soon as possible.”