Gyms, fitness centers face new guidelines as large gyms reopen for the first time in months

New guidelines for fitness centers and gyms go into effect today across Washington in response to COVID-19.  

The changes will impact how people exercise indoors at gyms in counties that are in phase 2 or 3 of Governor Inslee’s reopening plan.  

The new COVID-19 guidance will nearly triple the amount of social distance required, while working out and occupancy will be limited inside large gyms.  

For more information on the new requirements, click here.  

Gyms that are larger than 12,000 square feet will be limited to 25% occupancy, according to the reopening requirements.  

Many large gyms across Washington, like LA Fitness, that were closed since Mid-March were welcoming in guests on Monday.  

The guidance also increases the requirement of distance between people to 300 square feet, which is just over 17 feet of space between each person. 

The Washington Fitness Alliance, a coalition of more than 200 gyms from across the state, has been working with Governor Inslee’s office to come up with new safety guidelines.  

“We have reviewed the guidelines for all 50 states, and of all the other states this is by far the most restrictive,” said Blair McHaney, a board chair for the alliance. 

McHaney calls the new requirements excessive.  

“It’s an impossible guideline to meet,” said McHaney. “To say in a weight room floor everyone has to have their 17 by 17 feet space, well imagine a synchronized swim team trying to move in sync around the club.” 

McHaney says while new guidelines will be difficult for larger gyms to meet, he says the impact on smaller gyms could be financially devastating.  

Another requirement is that everyone must wear a face-covering while inside fitness facilities, unless they are engaging in strenuous exercise.  

Saunas, steam rooms, and pools will remain closed while locker rooms will only serve as restrooms and handwashing stations.