coronavirus in connecticut

New State Guidelines Require Face Masks at Gyms, Fitness Centers

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The state released new coronavirus guidance Friday that will require face masks to be worn at gyms and fitness centers.

According to a release from Gov. Ned Lamont's Office, the new sector rules will require face coverings with no exceptions, and reduce fitness class capacity to 25%.

The new rules also prohibit all team sporting activities, except on the collegiate and professional level.

A "team" is defined as a group of more than four participating in an organized or recreational athletic activity and "activities" include scrimmages, competitions, camps, clinics, and tournaments, including "pickup" games and less formal forms of engagement.

The new rules are set to take effect on Monday, November 23 and are active through at least January 19. For more details, click here.

Charles Fogie was on his way to the gym tonight when he found out about the pending mask regulations; something he doesn’t necessarily agree with.

“If you’re properly spaced out I believe you should be able to exercise without a mask on,” said Fogie of Prospect.

As states across the U.S. lift coronavirus lockdowns, gyms are starting to reopen their doors - within limits. We talked to David Thomas, Director of Infectious Diseases for Johns Hopkins Medicine, and Natalie Bushaw, spokeswoman for Lifetime Fitness, to find out how safe you should feel at the gym.

Masks, however, are now as much a part of gym attire as sweatpants and sneakers. Joe Sullo said he’s been wearing one ever since his gym reopened.

“You can barely breathe with a mask on but it’s obviously something we’re transitioning to and I’m used to it for now,” said Sullo.

At New Britain’s Body Construct, fitness classes used to be filled with 35 people. Owner Lori-Ann Marchese said a large class now has only eight to ten. So, the new limitations of 25% are something she’s already had to face.

“Will it affect us going from 50 percent to 25? I mean, I feel like I went from 100 to 25 like a long time ago,” Marchese said.

Adapting to the current environment, Body Construct has observed social distancing regulations and says it sanitizes diligently. Still, Marchese said the pandemic has forced her into completely changing her business model from fitness classes to personal training, which she had not done before.

“I had to reinvent myself,” she said. “Figure out ways to bring income to this gym.”

The personal training has taken off and Marchese said she now has a waitlist. But with COVID cases rising and executive orders changing, she said her business and others are facing serious challenges.

“We’re all struggling,” said Marchese. “I don’t know anybody who is not.”

The CIAC had previously announced it was postponing the high school winter sports season until at least January.

Connecticut has seen a swift increase in coronavirus cases over the past week. On Friday, the state topped 100,000 cases since the pandemic began and the positivity rate came in at 6.6%.

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