Coronavirus

How you can safely use the gym, roof deck, or pool in your building when NYC reopens

This isn't what working out will look like in the future. Expect social distancing rules to be in effect, among other restrictions, in gyms and other building amenities.

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You may have chosen your New York City building specifically for its amenities, which are currently off limits because of coronavirus. Now, after two months of being shut down, you may be wondering, how will you be able to use your pool, or gym, or roof deck in the future? What safeguards will be put in place so you can enjoy these shared amenities without fear?

Buildings are planning for when New York relaxes social distancing restrictions and opens for business. Seven counties, including Westchester, began restarting their economies today and Long Island is set to open tomorrow, if certain conditions are met. New coronavirus infections remain high in some parts of the city, so NYC will be the last region to open, Governor Andrew Cuomo said today during his daily briefing.


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When NYC does open and residential buildings follow suit, Lisa K. Lippman, a broker at Brown Harris Stevens, says you can expect to see some permanent changes regarding the use of public spaces.

“Amenities—especially gyms, saunas, and steam rooms—are going to have enhanced restrictions and monitoring. This could look like having to sign up for time slots to use the facilities or adding additional staff to monitor capacity,” she says.

Habitat Magazine reports that some co-op and condo boards are already facing pressure from residents to reopen amenities. Other boards hear concerns that opening up may cause new infections, for example, if you have New Yorkers returning from other areas.

Still, as Stuart Saft, a partner at the law firm Holland & Knight, tells the site, “Boards need to find a middle ground. We can’t stay locked up for the rest of 2020.”

His firm assembled some guidelines to address how to reopen amenities as well as accommodate showings, renovations, and moves. The detailed list of 18 rules, which you can download here, also covers doing laundry, tracking sick residents, using the elevator, and admitting staff like housekeepers, nurses, and nannies. One example: Restrict amenities to residents only, with social distancing rules in effect. Another suggestion: offer seniors-only hours for amenity spaces.

Habitat also cites a list from the law firm of Armstrong Teasdale, which you can download here, for additional recommendations. For example, boards should consider extending gym hours to minimize crowding and require all equipment be wiped down before and after use.