New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community
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Gyms are still shuttered, but when they reopen, boards and managers will face challenges ranging from scheduling to social distancing and cleaning.
Of major concern in our health-conscious age is the building’s fitness center, which could quickly become a breeding ground for COVID-19. Drawing from nine roundtable discussions, we look at the potential changes coming to one of a building’s major amenities.
As of July, gyms were still not open in New York City, including those in residential buildings. What are some of the steps boards will have to take to allow residents back into building gyms?
Ira Meister In gyms, people are on top of each other. We're going to have to space out equipment. We're going to have to set up calendars. Where a gym may have 200 members, we're going to have to figure out how to scale it down to a finite amount that we can handle on a schedule.
Any idea on how to do that?
Joseph Mobilia Every building will be different. The rules of the building are going to be key here. As far as handling a situation like a gym, granted you're going to be following the Centers for Disease Control’s and the governor's guidelines. But in regard to the staff, you can't commit to having someone clean a gym full-time every time someone is walking in to work out. So a lot of this responsibility will fall on the resident themselves.
Michael Wolfe Obviously, people want to get into the gyms. Fortunately, with nicer weather you can go outside and walk, run, bike and do things like that. But as to the equipment itself, not every building has a huge gym where you can have social distancing. You will have to remove equipment. But by the time you remove enough equipment to get social distancing, there might be no equipment left.
Mobilia It's a very tough situation. If residents don’t trust preventive measures, you may just want to keep the gym closed a little bit longer. But for the safety and health of the building as a whole, it's sometimes just better to hold off, keeping the amenity closed.
Wolfe You could extend the hours of the gym, consider some senior hours if you have seniors in the building and consider going online and reserving times through a signup sheet. You should limit the amount of time residents can be in the gym. You may have people who like to work out for hours, and you know what? We're not letting people work out hours anymore. It's a 45-minute session. “Go do your cardio, lift a little weight, do some stretching. Now the next person." So, depending on the size of your gym, the board will dictate how many people are allowed at any one time. And you may not have space in your building to pull out a treadmill or elliptical. Where are you going to put it? You may not have a basement in some of the newer buildings.
Alexis Ferrara In our buildings with gyms, residents will have the ability to log in and schedule a time for the gym. We don't want to have 50 people running to the gym as soon as it opens. There'll be only a certain amount of people allowed in, you'll have a certain amount of time, and then everything will get cleaned before the next group can come in. Doing that will help keep everyone's nerves at bay, because once everything begins to really open up, people are going to be cautious about returning to the stores, going to the gym, going to restaurants. It's going to be a little nerve-wracking at first.
So one of the things you’re saying is that it's really the community’s responsibility to take care of itself. The building management and the board can say whatever they want to say, but if the community is not going to step up, it will be unsafe for residents.
Learn all the basics of NYC co-op and condo management, with straight talk from heavy hitters in the field of co-op or condo apartments
Professionals in some of the key fields of co-op and condo board governance and building management answer common questions in their areas of expertise
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