New Jersey gyms can open Sept. 1 in big recovery step

Elise Young

New Jersey’s 1,200 gyms can reopen on Sept. 1 at 25% capacity with spaced workout equipment, masking and other safety precautions, according to a senior official in Governor Phil Murphy’s administration.

The fitness centers’ return, in a state with almost 16,000 novel coronavirus deaths, will mark a major step toward full reopening after Murphy, a first-term Democrat, closed non-essential businesses on March 21. Indoor dining and theaters remain off-limits with no targeted opening date, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of Murphy’s 1 p.m. announcement.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy speaks during his 2021 budget address at SHI Stadium at Rutgers University.Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, in Piscataway,NJ.

Murphy has said gyms pose a particular risk for coronavirus spread because patrons breathe heavily and share equipment. Class participants will be spaced apart, and gyms must log the contact information of everyone who enters, the official said. The policy change was reported earlier by the news website

The reopenings will leave North Carolina as the only U.S. state that continues to block gym access, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association.