The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has issued Administrative Order No. 2020-21, clarifying that fitness centers in residential communities can reopen. Additionally, the comprehensive guidelines pertaining to “health clubs,” previously established by Executive Order 181 and the NJ Department of Health, do not apply to fitness centers within a residential community, hotel, or office building, provided that they are not open to the public.

As such, eligible fitness centers are not required to check-in residents or take their temperature prior to entering the facility, which would be difficult to achieve in fitness rooms within apartment communities given current staffing models.

However, apartment owners will be required to adopt minimum health and safety requirements, to ensure that all relevant executive orders are complied with, and that general safety guidelines are followed.

A summary of some of these general requirements for indoor facilities are as follows:

  • Indoor occupancy: Occupancy must be restricted to 25% of a room’s capacity or 25 people, whichever is lower.
  • Face Coverings/Social Distancing: Cloth face coverings should be worn at all times, except where doing so would inhibit that individual’s health. Individuals should maintain 6 feet of distance from others.
  • Cleaning Practices: High touch surfaces should be cleaned frequently in accordance with CDC guidelines, and adequate staffing should be provided to follow these guidelines. Additionally, more aggressive cleanings are required following a known or potential exposure to COVID-19, again, consistent with CDC guidelines.

When developing and adopting minimum health and safety standards for applicable fitness centers, apartment owners may wish to draw from the practicable elements of the Guidance for Health Clubs/Gyms/Fitness Centers issued by the NJ Department of Health.