Gyms, hotels, outdoor recreation areas reopen in L.A. County with strict COVID-19 safety measures in place

Much of Los Angeles County has been closed down since the COVID-19 crisis swept across the nation in March, but on Friday some residents were taking another step toward normalcy as more businesses were allowed to reopen with safety modifications at the forefront.

Under a modified health order that went into effect on Friday, gyms, fitness facilities, hotels, lodging, short-term rentals, museums, galleries, zoos, aquariums, day camps, RV parks, campgrounds, outdoor recreation areas and pools were allowed to reopen.

Some fitness enthusiasts like resident Francesco Boin were up early and excited, yet cautious, on Friday.

“It’s exciting on one side because we want to get back to normal, but on the other side there is still concern that a congregation of people can lead to more problems,” Boin told KTLA.

The day before reopening, L.A. County reported 46 new coronavirus-related deaths and 1,857 new cases of the illness. Health officials said it is imperative for residents to continue to heed the threat of the coronavirus as cases continue to rise.

“Reopening businesses and public spaces safely requires everyone to continue to make physical distancing, wearing cloth face coverings and other infection control practices a part of day-to-day life,” Barbara Ferrer, the county’s director of public health, said in a statement. “We have shown that we can work together on slowing the spread of COVID-19, and we need to continue to do so through our recovery journey to prevent huge increases in cases, hospitalizations and deaths.”

Under the state’s guidelines for reopening, gyms must practice as much physical distancing as possible, employees and patrons must wear facial coverings and wash their hands frequently. Gyms must also make sure all equipment and mats are sanitized before and after each use, while saunas, steam rooms and hot tubs remain closed.

Gym owners can also add extra safety protocols as they see fit.

“One thing that we’ve done is implemented touchless entry so you just have to wave your phone across a laser light, it clicks the gate and you can come through,” Tony Wisnieswki, who owns a gym in Hollywood, told KTLA. “And when they’re down with their session they can just exit through the back door. So in the front and out the back.”

Also allowed to reopen Friday were music, film and television production, as well as professional sports without live audiences. The county released several pages of guidelines for those working in the entertainment field as reopening moves forward, including regular coronavirus testing for cast and crew on larger films.

The guidelines also state the filming of intimate and fight scenes are discouraged, large crowd scenes should be avoided and cast and crew must wash their hands prior to filming a scene and should not touch their faces.

As additional sectors got back to business Friday, others including nail salons, tattoo shops, bars, wineries, movie and performance theaters, concert venues, stadiums, gaming facilities, themes parks and festivals remain closed countywide.

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