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New guidelines for indoor gyms begin Monday in Washington state



The new COVID-19 instruction for home gyms increases the demand of six meters distance between patrons to about 17 meters.

SEATTLE – New guidelines for fitness centers and gyms will take effect Monday in Washington state. As part of the updated guidelines, gyms and gym facilities will need to triple the minimum distance required for defenders who practice indoor, in addition to those who practice certain team sports.

The new COVID-19 Instruction issued by Gov. Jay Inslee for counties in phase 2 or 3 of the reopening increases the demand for six feet of distance between patrons to 300 square feet, which is just over 1

7 feet of space.

The number of people allowed in gyms, fitness facilities and fitness classes will be limited by the size of their space under instruction. Sustainability in facilities and gyms that are larger than 12,000 square feet will be limited to 25 percent.

RELATED: Is it safe to go to the gym during the coronavirus pandemic?

In addition, showers, hot tubs, saunas and tanning beds in multi-purpose facilities will be closed, as well as steam rooms, squash courts and racetrack courts. Lockers will also be restricted to hand washing and bathrooms only.

All clients will also be required to wear face masks while inside indoor fitness facilities, “except when engaged in strenuous exercise”. Click here to see the full instructions from Gov. Inslee.

While many larger gyms may be able to accept the changes, updated guidelines can be devastating for smaller facilities.

The Fitness Alliance in Washington is working with Governor Inslee’s office to come up with guidelines that will allow people to be safe but that gyms still function as a business.

“We looked at the states doing the best thing and mitigating COVID-19,” said WFA director Blair McHaney. “We looked at their instruction, and it is generally 150 square meters per person to maintain 6 meters of social distance.”

McHaney said his coalition could not make the governor’s office go more than 300 square feet in distance between clients.

“Our board is not here to protect big clubs,” McHaney said. “The WFA is here to protect the gym and indoor recreation, and we can’t let those people go free. We can’t let them out.”

McHaney noted that despite positive talks with the governor’s office, the process felt rushed. He said they are working on drafting a letter that uses data to support their claim that the guidelines are too restrictive.

Sami Sweeney owns Barre Pure in Bellevue. She said they have been operating at a limited capacity since King County moved to phase 2, but the new guidelines would be too much.

“We will be in two people per class and we cannot operate,” Sweeney said. “We will have to close with just two people per class.”


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