Health inspectors making "virtual visits" of gyms before giving them the green light to open after COVID-19


(NEW YORK) — The COVID-19 pandemic led to the explosion of “virtual visits” between doctors and patients, and now that same technology is being used to let health inspectors examine gyms for coronavirus safety compliance.

The New York Daily News reports that gyms, closed since March, were deemed non-essential by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and and Mayor Bill de Blasio. As such, they were not allowed to open, even as COVID-19 rules were being relaxed for other businesses in the state this summer. 

This Wednesday, however, facilities are being allowed to resume operations, if they pass inspection.

To that end, New York City Health Department employees will conduct video calls to gym operators, who must explain their facility’s COVID-19 safety plans, and also show supplies of face coverings, paper towels and hand sanitizer, as well as social distancing markers and other precautions.

Those that flunk the inspections will remain closed until their deficiencies are addressed.

Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi tells the Daily News, “We will always encourage New Yorkers to exercise and stay active. But indoor exercise is not without risk. We’re being as innovative as possible with virtual inspections to ensure that fitness center staff are following the safety guidelines.”

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