Cuomo says state gyms may reopen, but situation unclear in New York

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STATEN ISLAND, NY – Small business owners across the five boroughs are hoping Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio can make it happen.

At a press briefing on Monday, the governor said state gymnasiums could start opening on August 24 with possible delays until September 2 to give localities enough time to set up inspections. Local executives – Mayor Bill de Blasio in New York City – have discretion over classroom courses.

The state will require inspections of gyms within two weeks of reopening. For example, localities will have to complete inspections by September 16 for gyms that will reopen on September 2.

Despite state demands, the schedule for city gymnasium inspections remains unclear and Mayoral spokesman Mitch Schwartz said the city’s limited number of health inspectors will remain focused on its system. educative. He said the city would choose not to resume classes.

“There is no higher priority than making sure our schools and daycares are safe to learn in the fall, and the City’s dedicated team of inspectors will continue to prioritize this work. “, did he declare. “Although indoor fitness classes and indoor pools are not opening at this time, we will develop a fair and rigorous inspection system for other gym facilities in the coming weeks.”

A state official could not say what the consequences would be for localities that did not meet the inspection deadline, but that gyms would be allowed to open under state law from August 24. . Until September 2, the competence would rest essentially with the localities which would authorize them. take the decision to reopen the facilities.

More than 1,500 gyms across the state filed a class action lawsuit against the governor in early July, pressuring the state to allow the reopening. The next hearing in the case was due to take place on Thursday. Attempts to contact the gym lawyer failed Monday evening.

The gymnasiums in the five arrondissements are in a unique situation. In addition to state oversight, they have to deal with city regulations, including a special permit from the Standards and Appeals Board, as gyms are considered “physical culture or health establishments.”

The owners of a chain of gyms in Staten Island, Intoxx Fitness, have expressed frustration at the confusion caused by the city and state’s dueling positions.

“Who are we listening to?” owners Carlo Lasorsa, Michael Giliotti and Rosario DiBernardo said in a written statement. “Our governor tells us that we can open but our mayor tells us that we cannot. Cuomo has released a plan to open gyms in New York State, which we are complying with. Four hours later, we learn that the mayor of New York is not ready to provide us with enough health inspectors to check our facilities. Because of de Blasio, we no longer have an opening date and once again we are at the mercy of a dysfunctional government.

Schwartz, the mayor’s spokesperson, said more information would be provided on Tuesday morning.

State-issued guidelines for a safe reopening include 33% capacity, mandatory wearing of a mask, sign-in sheets, and door health exams, and installation of air filters specials.

“Gyms is one of the areas where you have to be really careful and we know that,” Cuomo said. “If it’s not done right, it can be a problem, and we’ve seen it.”

In late July, health officials in California linked a COVID-19 outbreak to an illegally operating San Diego gym, and the Centers for Disease Control shared South Korean research from May that linked cases to classes of fitness in this country.

Despite the latest gym news, the governor has not provided an update on when indoor dining will be allowed in New York City. Interior options have been licensed in all other parts of the state.

The five boroughs also have viral data similar to that of the rest of New York. Statewide tests on Sunday revealed an infection rate of 0.71%.

In New York City, tests revealed an infection rate of 0.9%, with Staten Island having the lowest of the five boroughs at 0.5%. Restaurants in all other parts of the state were given the option of offering indoor dining when their areas entered Phase 3 of the reopening process.

The governor also did not specify when other indoor facilities like New York’s shopping malls and cinemas would have a chance to reopen. He said the process was to open the most essential businesses first with the lowest risk.

“I’m sure there’s a whole bunch of people out there saying, ‘I can’t live without going to the movies,’” Cuomo said. “In the ‘essentials’ index, theaters are not at the top of the list.”

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