During a news conference on Wednesday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo allowed New York to resume indoor fitness classes.
New York will also lift restrictions on Monday in so-called ‘yellow zones’, areas where the state has imposed stricter restrictions on restaurants and other businesses due to the worrying coronavirus data.
Only five yellow zones remain in the state as of Wednesday: two in the Bronx, one in Queens, one in Manhattan and one in Orange County, north of New York.
In those areas, restaurants were limited to just 4 people at the table, and non-residential gatherings were limited to 25 people – even when the state moved to allow larger events such as weddings and reopen art and entertainment venues.
Mr. Cuomo also said the state will end a 23:00 evening clock on April 5 at casinos, movie theaters, bowling alleys, billiard halls and gyms. This will allow a similar evening clock to take place at restaurants, bars and catering events.
As of Tuesday, the state of New York reports an average of seven days of 35 new virus cases per day for every 100,000 residents, according to a New York Times database, which tracks only New Jersey, at 41 cases per 100,000. ( The country as a whole averaged 17 new cases per 100,000 people.)
New York City, with 44 cases per 100,000, is adding new business at a per capita rate more than five times that of Los Angeles County.
The announcement about indoor exercise classes comes to a number of owners of fitness studios protest outside the town hall on Tuesday.
When the governor last September ordered gyms across the state to reopen, he allowed local officials to decide whether to allow them to return to indoor fitness classes as well. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio refused to do so, citing fears of an increased risk of transmission in those spaces.
Last month, a group fitness studios sued Mr. De Blasio and mr. Cuomo for the right to reopen.
Fitness classes will be limited to a 33 percent capacity, such as state-of-the-art gyms, and customers will be required to wear face masks while exercising.
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recently advised fitness centers to take a variety of measures to prevent outbreaks, including maintaining proper mask use while exercising and keeping protectors at six feet apart. It is also said that fitness facilities should ensure that they have good ventilation. Gymnasiums in New York must meet certain standards for air filtration and ventilation.
The CDC found that heavy breathing during intense physical activity in restricted indoors could increase the chance of transmission, and fitness teachers shouting exercise instructions to members may also have contributed to the spread.