On Monday, bowling alleys got the green light to reopen and the state will put out guidelines for gyms and fitness facilities to be able to reopen, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Friday.
Cuomo said that the decision to finally allow bowling alleys and gyms to open their doors for the first time since March is based on New York State’s relatively low COVID-19 figures. During a phone briefing with the media, Cuomo said the state experienced seven straight days with an infection rate under 1 percent, while averaging 87,000 tests per day.
Hundreds of gym and fitness studio owners across the state are apart of a class-action lawsuit against Cuomo for not allowing them to reopen in Phase 4, which was reached on Long Island in June. Health experts have said that gyms provide a high risk for the spread of COVID-19 due to higher densities, the increased breathing rate that comes with working out and common touch areas, and the state never issued any guidance or indication of when fitness facilities could reopen.
The new protocols will be distributed on Monday.
Bowling alleys, like the All Star Bowling in Riverhead, may open Monday, but with a maximum 50% occupancy and every other lane must be closed. For months, the bowling alley in Riverhead has had a sign in front of its Route 58 location that says, “Governor Cuomo please let us reopen bowling. We are ready.”
Everyone inside must wear a face covering, and people that come together must stay with their party at the lane where they are bowling. The establishment also has to have cleaning and disinfected protocols in place, especially when it comes to shared and rented equipment.
Food and alcohol may be served to bowlers, but wait staff must bring it over to the party’s location.
Cuomo cautioned New Yorkers that while the state is doing well, they must remain vigilant. “We’re doing great, but fall is coming,” he said.
The governor also announced that low-risk indoor cultural activities, such as museums, can resume in New York City on August 24. The cultural institutions will be relegated to 25% maximum occupancy. Timed ticketing is required with preset, staggered entry, he said. Face coverings need to be enforced and there needs to be a controlled traffic flow.
The state health department is also working on a joint pilot program with four cities on wastewater research as traces of COVID have been found in it.