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Gyms reopen on Monday, but will look a little different

Here's what to expect.

AUSTIN, Texas — The moment fitness fanatics and people who want to break a sweat outside of their living room have been waiting for is almost here.

Gov. Greg Abbott's reopening plan allows gyms to reopen on Monday, May 18, with restrictions.

Gyms and workout facilities can operate at 25% occupancy. Social distancing is still in effect. The state's recommendations say people should still remain six feet away from others.

When it comes to using the locker rooms, that won't be happening just yet. You'll have to save the shower for your own home.

The state's recommendations do not specifically say whether people need to wear masks. It's up to the facility to decide if it is a requirement. 

As for disinfecting, cleaning products will be provided throughout the facility, and employees are required to sanitize equipment, railings and doorknobs frequently.

When it comes to cleaning weights and machines after you use them, you probably should have been doing it before, and you definitely should do it now.

Who will enforce these rules? The state encourages gyms that have more than 10 employees to assign someone to ensure health protocols are being followed. 

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Here's a list of the state's recommendations for workout facilities: 

  • Space workout equipment to provide for at least six feet separation between patrons.
  • Regularly and frequently clean and disinfect any regularly touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, tables, chairs and restrooms.
  • Disinfect any items that come into contact with customers.
  • Provide equipment cleaning products throughout the gym or exercise facility or class for use on equipment, including dead weights.
  • Make hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, soap and water, or similar disinfectant, readily available to employees, contractors and customers.
  • Place readily visible signage at the gym or exercise facility or class to remind everyone of the best hygiene practices.
  • For facilities with more than 10 employees and/or contractors present at one time, consider having an individual wholly or partially dedicated to ensuring the health protocols adopted by the facility are being successfully implemented and followed.
  • Train all employees and contractors on appropriate cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
  • Screen employees and contractors before coming into the gym or exercise facility or class.
  • Have employees and contractors wash or sanitize their hands upon entering the gym or exercise facility.

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  • Have employees and contractors maintain at least six feet separation from other individuals. If such distancing is not feasible, other measures such as face coverings, hand hygiene, cough etiquette, cleanliness and sanitation should be rigorously practiced.
  • If a gym or exercise facility or class provides a meal for employees and/or contractors, the gym or exercise facility is recommended to have the meal individually packed for each individual.
  • Consistent with the actions taken by many employers across the state, consider having all employees and contractors wear cloth face coverings (over the nose and mouth). If available, employees should consider wearing non-medical grade face masks.

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