TRENTON, NJ – Although New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has just approved the limited capacity reopening of gyms in the Garden State, his health commission, Judith Persichili cited a South Korean study of one gym to justify the administration’s extended closure of the industry.
“I think we all recognize how important exercise is for good physical and mental health, so we’re excited to offer residents the opportunity to get back to their gyms. Given the risk of transmission, however, associated with exercising indoors it is important that both gym owners and customers abide by health and safety guidelines very closely,” Persichili said about the fitness industry. “We know that the virus spreads through the air via respiratory droplets, especially in confined spaces. And when people are working out, they usually breathe more rapidly and deeply, which causes them to expel more droplets.”
A few weeks ago, Murphy cited a study done in a restaurant in China to prolong the closure of indoor dining at restaurants. Now, Persichili is citing a study from South Korea that said indoor fitness centers could increase the risk of infection and might have led to the transmission of the virus.
“Additionally, when exercising, we are often sharing common spaces and using common equipment with others who have used the equipment before us, such as free weights or cardio machines. CDC released a study earlier this month that examined a cluster of cases in South Korea that stemmed from fitness dance classes, which demonstrated that intense physical exercise in densely populated sports facilities could increase the risk of infection,” she said. “In total, 112 persons were infected with COVID-19 associated with classes at 12 sports facilities. The study concluded that the characteristics that might have led to the transmission among attendees included large class sizes, small spaces, and the intensity of the workouts.”