New York governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced the easing of some COVID-19 restrictions, including on fitness centers and gyms.
TV station WGRZ reports that by May 15, gyms outside of New York City can increase their capacity from 33 percent to 50 percent. The move comes as the state is seeing positive indicators of the COVID-19 pandemic, with test positivity rates and hospitalization numbers at their lowest levels since November, and vaccine distribution ramps up. The state has reportedly administered more than 14.5 million COVID-19 vaccines.
“The arrows are all pointed in the right direction,” Cuomo said as he announced the changes.
Despite the struggles of the past year-plus, some gyms are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
“I remember the first time I saw a waitlist,” Alexandra Chambers, owner of Sweat Society in Buffalo, N.Y., told WGRZ. “It was the most amazing thing ever because I hadn’t seen it in almost a year and a half.”
Meanwhile, WGRZ reports that new memberships are on the rise. NYS Fitness Alliance board member and gym owner Amy Bueme credited the vaccine for rising memberships, while also citing the mental and physical toll the pandemic has had on people for spurring them into memberships.
However, the industry is far from being out of the woods.
"There's thousands of members that either froze, that still have not come back or we're not collecting dues from, or they have quit. We're still not in the clear at all," Bueme said.