NC gyms, fitness centers impacted by Gov. Cooper’s new COVID-19 restrictions

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Gov. Roy Cooper’s new executive order Monday about COVID-19 precautions brings changes for gyms.

Before, people could take their masks off while working out, but once the order goes into effect on Wednesday, face coverings are required in indoor gyms and fitness facilities even when people are exercising. 

Carole Wagner, who owns Row House in Raleigh, says it might take a bit of time for customers to get used to the new mandate.

“We’ve talked about maybe going to 30-minute classes until people get used to it and then adding the 45 minutes back in, so that people don’t feel too overwhelmed with breathing through a mask,” she said, but added that her members are willing to adapt. “They are all really on board with doing everything they can personally and protecting each other so I think people will get on board with it.” 

 Some people already wear a face covering while working out.

“A lot of our members since our clubs are able to reopen have chosen to wear a mask at all times,” noted Johnny Groff, the area director of Life Time Fitness. 

He says gyms are doing everything they can to keep members safe, from extensive cleaning to temperature checks.  He says some fitness centers already require masks during exercise. It just takes some getting used to.

“We’ve seen it across the country in different markets with folks finding an athletic mask that is a little bit more comfortable,” he said.  

Once the governor’s order goes into effect, Groff says it will be enforced.

“If folks don’t want to wear a mask, you know, we educate them. We will even provide them a mask for that day, he said, “But we do require that the mask is worn because we want to keep folks safe and we want to stay open.  

Wagner added, this is just one more way gym owners and members are adapting.

“2020,” she said, “We roll with the flow.”  

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