By Bria Brown

(CBS DETROIT) – Governor Gretchen Whitmer will allow gyms and fitness centers to reopen in Michigan beginning Sept. 9. 

Whitmer’s executive order outlines strict workplace safety measures gyms and pools must follow to protect people from the spread of COVID-19. 

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Gyms must require wearing of masks at all times
    • This includes times of exercise, configure workout stations
  • Gyms must 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.  

“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. Today we are announcing the reopening of gyms and pools with strict safety measures in place to protect patrons and their families,” said Whitmer. “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.” 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) also released guidance today on organized sports. The document recommends against contact sports at this time, defined to mean those sports involving more than occasional and fleeting contact, including football, basketball, and soccer. It also cites the elevated risk associated with activities that involve “shouting, singing, or breathing forcefully,” and notes there have been 30 reported outbreaks associated with athletic clubs, teams, or athletic facilities. MDHHS’ guidance recommends mitigation measures organized sports teams may take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 during training, practices, and competitions. These recommendations include frequent hand washing, not letting players share towels, clothing, or other items they use to wipe their faces or hands, ensuring proper cleaning and disinfection of objects and equipment, prioritizing outdoor practice, and more. 

“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,” said Chief Medical Executive and MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “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.” 

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