It turns out that Phase Four of the reopening of New York State since its closure of coronavirus is not the light at the end of the tunnel, as gyms, shopping malls and movie theaters will not be able to reopen in what is believed to be the final stage.
The Cuomo government broke the news to local officials across the state in a conference call Tuesday night.
Other places and businesses that were prohibited from reopening in Phase Four include: casinos, amusement parks, and facial services and other skincare services.
“We continue to study malls, movie theaters and gyms,” Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters during a press conference in Manhattan on Wednesday.
“We are looking at what happened in other states,” Cuomo said. “There are some reports that air-conditioned malls, bars, certain social clubs, that the air conditioner may not be cleaning the air from the virus and simply recirculating the virus.”
He added: “As soon as we get more information, we will make an informed decision.”
Cuomo senior adviser Rich Azzopardi later said The Post: “There are some things that don’t fit neatly into a phase that will require more study and we are going through that right now. This includes evaluating what is happening in other states to avoid backtracking. “
Sources told The Post that all industries without a reopening period in their sights will be authorized to reopen for a general date sometime in the future.
In Phase Four, the final phase of the state’s economic reopening plan, higher education institutions, “low risk” indoor and outdoor art and entertainment businesses, and media production may reopen.
In the conference call it was announced that in Phase Four, “low risk” outdoor arts and entertainment can operate at 35 percent of capacity, while “low risk” indoor arts and entertainment companies they can operate at 25 percent of their capacity.
Film production and professional sports without fans can also resume in Phase Four, along with indoor museums, historic sites, and aquariums, all at 25 percent capacity, as well as zoos and botanical gardens at 35 percent capacity.
In Phase Four, the number of people who can be at a religious gathering indoors will increase from 25% to 33%, while social gatherings of up to 50 people will be allowed, Cuomo said Wednesday.
County officials across the state were not happy with the announcements about what cannot be opened in Phase Four, particularly Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, the former 2018 Republican candidate for governor of Cuomo.
“Either they knew and they lied or they didn’t know and they are spinning. It is also not fair to companies or honest to us, “Molinaro told The Post, adding that in his region, the Mid-Hudson section, county officials were under the impression that all companies could reopen smoothly in the Phase Four.
Those in the fitness industry were devastated by the news.
“This basically sets the nail in the coffin for all the movement of small gyms, micro gyms and studios,” said Spencer Tsai, 43, a personal trainer and owner of the Brooklyn Barbell Club.
Tsai, along with 20 other fitness business owners, sent a joint letter to Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and other elected officials asking the state to allow small gyms to reopen in Phase Three, citing that they cannot afford the luxury of waiting. until Phase Four.
“We, the New York Gymnasiums and Studios Coalition, join the urgent and ongoing discussion about the safe and legal reopening of small gyms, fitness studios (also known as micro gyms or boutique fitness studios) and services fitness training led by an instructor. ” letter, obtained by The Post, read.
“Unlike large commercial gyms, these cooperative-type facilities are in a unique position to take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of our employees and customers.”
The coalition proposes 25 percent capacity limits and 10-minute gaps between cleaning training sessions, as well as the closure of showers and locker rooms.
David Plasse, 34, personal trainer and owner of Plasse Strength and Fitness in Queens, said: “It is really annoying because phase four is still a long way away and finding out that we are probably not even in phase four, now it could crush my business. “
Plasse said that since March, under Cuomo’s closing order, he has lost an average of $ 15,000 per month.
“Right now I am training people in a park, which is not ideal because it rains,” he said.
Plasse said his business is different from bigger gyms like Planet Fitness, “which has hundreds of members coming in at once.”
“We will have only four people. We know that everyone comes at all times, ”said Plasse.
Azzopardi said that the issue of gyms, small or large, is complicated.
“There is a person who is struggling with a lot of particles in the air in confined spaces on different sides and questions about whether the air conditioner really eliminates the virus,” he said. “I need to see him a little more.”
The Finger Lakes, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Southern Tier state regions are expected to enter Phase Four on Friday.