Michigan gyms and pools will be able to reopen starting on September 9, thanks to an executive order signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday.
The order will allow organized sports practices to resume and gym facilities and pool usage to reopen, with certain safety restrictions in place.
Gyms will be required to maintain records of gym attendees that include time of entry and exit and contact information, mandate mask wearing except when swimming, limit the number of patrons to 25 percent of capacity and configure workstations to allow for social distancing.
“Throughout this pandemic, we have followed the best science and data available to make decisions that will keep Michiganders safe, and our hard work is paying off. Today we are announcing the reopening of gyms and pools with strict safety measures in place to protect patrons and their families,” Whitmer said in a statement. “I urge everyone who plans to hit the gym after these orders go into effect to take these precautions seriously and do everything in their power to protect themselves and their families. Be smart, and stay safe.”
The announcement follows a Wednesday press conference where Whitmer said she would postpone making a final decision on gym reopenings.
Gyms and pool facilities have been closed since March.
Michigan Sen. Michael MacDonald (R-10-Macomb Township) said he was “thrilled” by Whitmer’s decision. MacDonald, who has a background in exercise science, sent a letter co-signed by nearly 600 residents to the governor on Friday urging her to reopen gyms.
MacDonald said Whitmer’s previous policies, which allowed restaurants and other businesses to reopen, were “inconsistent.”
“People need the structure of [the gym] environment,” MacDonald told The Michigan Star. “There’s not an illness that exists that isn’t related to stress.”
One gym owner said that the reopening of the gyms gave her a “sense of relief.”
“A lot of people have gained weight or haven’t been able to manage [their health issues],” Amanda Rainsberger, who owns two locations of Anytime Fitness in Michigan, told The Michigan Star. “They want the freedom to make the choice for themselves.”
Rainsberger said her locations have been closed since March 16 and that she expects getting people to return will be an “uphill battle.”
“I think eventually people will return,” she said.
Rainsberger said that her locations have sneeze guard around all cardio equipment and anti-bacterial wipes available, as well as increased cleaning protocols.
“I think people are just happy to open and operate,” she said.
Read Whitmer’s full executive order here.
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter at The Michigan Star and Star News Digital Media. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]