Gym ban applies to residential buildings: state

Governor’s executive order limits use of gyms in apartment buildings, too

Mar.March 17, 2020 03:07 PM
Governor Andrew Cuomo and 1 QPS's Fitness Center at 23-01 42nd Road (Credit: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images; Fitness Center by SLCE Architects/PMG)

Governor Andrew Cuomo and 1 QPS’s Fitness Center at 23-01 42nd Road (Credit: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images; Fitness Center by SLCE Architects/PMG)

UPDATED, March 17, 2019, 3:43 p.m.: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s order that gyms close until further notice also applies to those inside residential buildings, The Real Deal has learned.

The clarification comes a day after Cuomo issued an executive order that “any gym, fitness centers or classes” must cease operations as of 8 p.m. Monday, to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

State officials clarified the scope of rule in an email to TRD, but offered no further details about how it would be enforced in private buildings.

Stuart Saft, a partner with Holland & Knight LLP, said violation of the rule could technically be considered a misdemeanor.

“It seems to me that if an order is issued by the governor that is violated by the building, then I imagine at the very least a violation could get placed against the building, and theoretically the state could send in state troopers to close the gym — and possibly even arrest the operator,” Saft said.

The past week has seen a blizzard of new rules come into effect in New York, including bans on dine-in restaurant service, large events and casino gaming. With developments as fluid and fast-moving as they are, many city residents find themselves playing catch up, as authorities take strong measures to quell the transmission of the virus.

As of midday Tuesday, there were 1,374 recorded cases of coronavirus in New York State, including 12 deaths and 264 people hospitalized, according to the New York Times. The number of known cases across the country has surpassed 5,000.

The gym ban will affect buildings across New York City, including dozens of luxury towers that feature high-end fitness centers.

Building owners and property managers across the city have already been implementing more extensive and more frequent cleaning measures in communal areas. Some attorneys had previously advised condominium and cooperative boards clients to close amenities if any resident had been exposed to coronavirus.

Limited access to exercise could pose health risks, and some developers are using technology to fill the gap and support residents. Magnum Real Estate Group’s Jordan Brill said the firm was offering complimentary access to a “virtual wellness hub” at its two downtown condo buildings, 100 Barclay and 196 Orchard Street. Residents can use the service from their apartments to access videos and programs about exercise, meditation and boosting their immune systems, he said.

Residents could still access the outdoor spaces at both buildings, Brill said, but they would now have to make an appointment, with no more than 10 people allowed in the area at any one time.

Write to Sylvia Varnham O’Regan at [email protected]

UPDATE: This story has been updated to include comments from attorney Stuart Saft and Magnum Real Estate Group’s Jordan Brill.

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