LANSING — Having been closed since March, gym owners and other business owners have been asking the governor when they’d be allowed to reopen.
Governor Whitmer answered those questions with a new executive order. This executive order allows gyms, pools, bowling alleys and organized sports to reopen effective Wednesday, Sept. 9.
“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,” Whitmer said. “Today we are announcing the reopening of gyms and pools with strict safety measures in place to protect patrons and their families.
“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.”
Whitmer also outlined workplace safety measures for these facilities. This includes gym patrons being required to wear masks at all times, including times of exercise. Gyms must also configure workout stations or implement protocols to enable six feet of distance between individuals during exercise sessions, reduce class sizes to enable at least six feet of separation between individuals, provide equipment-cleaning products throughout the gym and more.
Spectators for indoor organized sports are limited to the guests of the athletes, with each athlete designating up to two guests. For outdoor sports competitions, the organizer of the competitions must either limit the audience to the guests of the participants, with each athlete designating up to two guests, or limit total attendance to 100 people or fewer, including all participants like athletes, coaches and staff.
Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said that we still need to be very careful.
“Individuals can now choose whether or not to play organized sports; and if they do choose to play, this order requires strict safety measures to reduce risk,” she said. “However, we know of 30 reported outbreaks involving athletic teams and facilities in August. Based on current data, contact sports create a high risk of COVID-19 transmission and MDHHS strongly recommends against participating in them at this time. We are not out of the woods yet. COVID-19 is still a very real threat to our families.”
Whitmer also said it’s important for schools to protect their athletes.
“As we begin to start organized sports back up again, I urge school districts and athletic associations to do everything in their power to protect players, coaches and staff,” the governor said. “That means carefully following the guidelines released today by DHHS.
“Going forward, we will continue to work with health experts to assess the risk associated with business sectors that remain closed. For the health and safety of our families and frontline workers, it is crucial that we proceed thoughtfully and incrementally, so we can measure the effects of today’s actions before we take additional steps towards re-engagement.”