Gyms in Oceanside and Island Park, along with the rest of the state, are set to reopen as soon as Aug. 24, following inspection by local authorities. Some are set to reopen on Monday, and some are still awaiting county approval.
On Aug. 17, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that facilities can reopen at 33 percent capacity, with face coverings required at all times and ventilation that meets state-mandated health guidelines. “Localities have a role here,” he said. “They have to inspect gyms before they open.”
Cuomo added that the state's .7 infection rate is the lowest it's been since the pandemic began. “Congratulations to New Yorkers,” he said. “New Yorkers did what everyone said couldn’t be done. Going forward we must protect the progress by keeping the infection rate down.”
Island Park Fitness on Austin Boulevard is still in the process of submitting its reopening plans to Nassau County to be approved for indoor workouts. Gym owner Rob Moloney said that some of the state’s policies “are not 100 percent clear,” and since the announcement came less than a week ago, he was still developing a plan.
However, the facility has been hosting outdoor fitness classes in its parking lot since July and kept a majority of its membership. “We fortunately have a parking lot that allows us to have a pretty large outdoor class,” Moloney said.
He added that as long as the weather is nice, he will keep members outside for workouts. “Most people don't want to wear a mask working out,” he said. “We don't want to put them in an uncomfortable situation.”
New York Sports Club, on Lincoln Avenue in Oceanside, is also awaiting an opening date, and ESPN Fitness, in Island Park, is hoping to be open by Monday.
Retro Fitness, on Lawson Boulevard in Oceanside, will open promptly on Aug. 24 with all state guidelines in place, according to its Facebook page. “We are very excited to welcome everyone back,” the gym wrote, adding that it would send an email to all members with safety protocols.
Some Oceanside and Island Park gym-goers are ready to be back. “I think it’s about time,” said Terry Lupica-Anzalone, a member at Retro, the Friday before the opening. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Others, however, said they will not return to the gyms due to membership costs and ability to workout at home. Saby Mejia, of Oceanside, said she uses her elliptical at home and walks the Long Beach boardwalk to stay in shape.
“When they all of a sudden closed the gym, I was devastated,” she said. “I found other things to do and I’ve maintained my weight. I feel bad about the business owners, but I’m really considering canceling [my family’s] memberships when they start charging again.”
“I feel terrible for these businesses,” Christina Arata, of Oceanside, said, “but I now own a Peloton and do all my workouts at home.”
Karen Bloom contributed to this story.