New guidelines for indoor fitness centers, gyms go into effect Monday

VIDEO: Some gyms reopen across Washington state

Some gyms are reopening Monday across Washington State with major restrictions.

New guidelines are in effect as of August 10, and the distancing required is about triple the standard six feet.

Updated COVID-19 guidance issued by Gov. Jay Inslee increased the requirement of six feet of distance between patrons to 300 square feet, which is about 17 feet.

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The number of people allowed in gyms, fitness facilities and fitness classes will be limited by the size of their space under this guidance, and occupancy in facilities and gyms that are larger than 12,000 square feet will be capped at 25%.

“The restrictions might be difficult for some. I think we’re very fortunate in our space to have large boxes to accommodate that,” said Chase Bosley, a district manager for 24 Hour Fitness. “If that’s the way we have to do it, we’ll do whatever is necessary,” he said. The gym opened for the first time on August 10 since closing back in mid-March.

More machines than not at the 24 Hour Fitness in downtown Seattle are marked “equipment not in use” to ensure distancing. People coming to work out also must sign up for a 90-minute time slot, and the gym is closed and cleaned for 30 minutes after every work out block.

All patrons will be required to wear face coverings when inside fitness facilities, except while engaged in strenuous exercise. Those who remove their cloth facial coverings to exercise must wear them at all other times, including immediately before and immediately after exercise.

24 Hour Fitness said it’s also going above and beyond the protocols and are requiring clients to wear a mask at all times, no matter the work out.

“We’re taking a very conservative approach,” Bosley said. “I know from personal experience that can be kind of tough,” he said. He’s also encouraging people to think of it as another cardiovascular challenge.

People at 24 Hour Fitness on the first day of re-opening said they didn’t mind the mask policy.

“It’s not a big deal, I’m breathing fine. I’ll take a sip of water once in a while,” said Shaun Lardie, a member.

“As you can see my glasses are fogging up a bit and I have a full beard but I understand and I’m all for it,” said Brent Lincicome, another member.

State guidelines say additionally, showers, hot tubs, saunas, and tanning beds at multi-use facilities will be closed, as will steam rooms, squash courts, and racquetball courts.

The pandemic has hit the fitness industry hard. 24 Hour Fitness filed for bankruptcy back in June and closed about 100 locations nationwide, including eight in Western Washington.