COVID-19 rollbacks won’t include fitness centers, gymnastics, yet

WASHINGTON — Tomorrow’s new rollbacks go into effect to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The new restrictions apply to restaurants and entertainment venues. Alcohol services must also end by 10 p.m.

Originally, fitness centers were on that list, but not anymore. In phase 2, they can operate at 30% capacity with groups of five athletes. The planned rollback cuts that to five athletes in the entire facility. The Washington State Department of Health stated that it needs to revisit the restrictions after getting feedback.

Sandy Flores, owner of Emerald City Gymnastics Academy in Redmond, has been pleading with the state — and so have the parents of hundreds of gymnasts.

“I think they rethought their rollbacks, and it made no sense to just have a blanket statement of five athletes or five people in the building at a time with warehouses like this over 65,000 square feet,” said Flores.

The state says it will release new guidelines next week. In the meantime, fitness centers and gyms should operate under the current rules.

The Washington State Department of Health is focused on the growing number of COVID-19 cases in young adults. In the last two weeks the biggest increase has been among 20-24 year-olds. While they usually do not need hospitalization, health officials say they’re spreading it to older patients who do require hospitalization.

“Knowing hospitalizations lag these new cases by two weeks, and deaths even farther, we’re keeping a close eye on those as well,” said Sec. John Wiesman, Washington State Department of Health.

State health officials say COVID-19 spread is happening with families and friends getting together. On Thursday, alcohol service in Washington will stop at 10 p.m. to try to reduce transmission in public gathering places.

“Nothing is off the table, whether it’s totally closing bars or moving people back phases,” said Sec. Wiesman.