PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia health officials announced Thursday that gyms and fitness centers will be allowed to reopen Monday with new safety measures.
The announcement came as a surprise for gym owners like Juliet Sabella of The Wall Cycling Studio in Manayunk.
"I need time to kind of process this, grateful but this is coming out of nowhere. Grateful, but it's out of nowhere," said Sabella.
According to Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, everyone in a gym will have to wear a mask and maintain a 6-foot distance throughout their visit.
Classes must have less than 10 people and outdoor exercise is encouraged.
Because masks must be worn at all times, cardio will happen outdoors for exercisers at Never Give Up Training in Manayunk. Ali Cook-Jackson says class sizes will be cut in half.
"No one is going to want to go to the gym if people are on top of each other. So, we immediately put 6-foot circles around the studio we call them pods. We also invested in separate equipment for everybody," Cook-Jackson said.
Dr. Farley said officials will be conducting unscheduled inspections and will make changes if businesses are not following the rules.
If people are not masked during an inspection, the gym will be closed, Farley said. Also, if spread of COVID-19 is identified in a gym, it will be closed.
"If you find it difficult to exercise with a mask on, don't go to the gym," Farley said.
Paris Fit Studios opened in Old City in January of this year. Since the pandemic, owner Noel Davis has had to pivot to online classes.
"When we opened we were class based however we will not be having classes just yet, but we will be taking private one-on-ones to maintain that social distancing rule," said Noel Davis.
When Paris Fit Studios does open, guests will be required to wear masks, have their temperature taken and fill out waivers detailing their behavior.
Farley announced 157 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 28,024. There were 18 additional deaths.