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Gov. Cuomo Announces Plan For Gyms To Reopen For First Time Since Pandemic Struck; Bowling Alleys Reopen Statewide

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced protocols for indoor gyms and fitness centers to reopen for the first time in five months, since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cuomo said gyms could reopen Aug. 24 at one-third capacity with a slew of strict safety guidelines.

At Planet Fitness on West 55th Street, staff is hoping the judgment-free zone is also a virus-free zone.

When customers come back they'll be encouraged to practice "social fitnessing." Every other treadmill will be off limits to keep people apart and cleaning stations will be scattered across the facility.

"It was really great to hear the news today that we could start opening up our gyms again, obviously in a very, very safe manner," said James Innocenti, who owns 47 Planet Fitness gyms across New York City.

He said he's excited to bring staff and customers back.

"People have been sitting on their couches and finally to get back to their routine, it will feel good physically, mentally, and that's what we're prepared for," Innocenti said.

Gyms in New York can open as late as Sept. 2. Cities will decide which day they open, because local officials must inspect gyms within two weeks of opening.

Masks will be mandatory and gyms will limited to 33% capacity.

But after five months of weights collecting dust, Innocenti said it's good to finally see a silver lining.

"Thirty-three percent capacity is better than being closed. So we can welcome our members back. Obviously, we would love to get that to 50 and then finally to 100% capacity. But we understand. We understand the restrictions and we understand the guidelines. We are fully in compliance with the guidelines, and I think members will appreciate it, too," Innocenti said.

Monday also marked another milestone on New York's road to reopening: the first day bowling alleys could reopen statewide -- but, they will look and feel a little different, CBS2's Nick Caloway reported.

Bowling alleys, like Funfest New York in Mills Basin, Brooklyn, must limit occupancy to 50% and thoroughly disinfect shared and rented equipment.

Rules released by Cuomo on Friday also require bowling alley staff to close every other lane and bring food and alcohol to customers.

Watch Gov. Cuomo's Aug. 17, 2020 Update:

"Because this came as a surprise to us, we were only given a couple days notice that we can open. So here we are," said Ramona Martin, co-owner of Funfest New York.

Once the place is ready, bowling will available there by reservation only, and groups will be separated by plastic barriers.


"These are protection from everybody else. And everybody here has to wear a mask. They cannot come here without wearing a mask. And they have to keep it on at all times," said Din Hunter, who said he'll sanitize each station after a group finishes its game.

"They will spray the inside of the balls, where the people insert their fingers, and they will be wiping all the balls," said Martin.

Martin said she's excited to open, since it was difficult to stay closed for so long. The business lost tens of thousands of dollars as the lanes collected dust.

But now, Martin said, it's a race to reopen.

"We're very nervous. We don't know what it's going to be. And, like I said, we have a lot of catching up to do," she said.

The owners hope to have Funfest ready for bowlers later on Monday.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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