Gov. Jay Inslee said Friday that gyms, yoga studios, indoor sports facilities and other fitness and training facilities in modified Phase 1 counties such as Yakima County can reopen at limited capacity.

Effective today, indoor fitness facilities are allowed operate under the guidelines for Phase 2 of Inslee’s Safe Start plan for the state, meaning they must ensure a minimum of 300 square feet per person. Facilities larger than 12,000 square feet will be limited to 25% of normal capacity as determined by the fire code. Masks are required.

“This is great news for the health of our community and our organization,” Yakima Family YMCA Executive Director Bob Romero said in the state news release. “We are excited and grateful to have the opportunity to implement the Phase 2 protocols to protect our members while they pursue improved health and well-being.”

Personal fitness and training, group fitness classes, and practice for low- and medium-contact sports are all allowed within those parameters, according to an Inslee news release. Squash and racquetball are included within that, according to a news release from the Yakima Health District.

“As the seasons change and outdoor options for fitness and training becomes less accessible, it is important for Washingtonians across our state to have access to facilities where they can safely exercise indoors,” Inslee said in the release. “I want to thank the many facilities around the state, and the fitness instructors that have been operating and teaching safely under this guidance.”

State Rep. Jeremie Dufault, R-Yakima, who had pushed for the change, cheered Inslee’s decision.

“I was glad to bring the issue to the governor and, along with County Commissioner Vicki Baker, to plead the case with the state’s health department,” Dufault wrote in a statement. “Yakima County residents can now get out of their houses and go to the YMCA or to their favorite gym.”

Late last month, the state allowed outdoor fitness classes of five or fewer people in modified Phase 1 counties.

Yakima Health District Executive Director Andre Fresco urged those who choose to participate in indoor fitness activities to do so carefully so the county, which was a COVID-19 hotspot as recently as July, doesn’t regress.

“As we continue to work with the Washington State Department of Health to open up more services as soon as is safely possible, please keep in mind that we all must continue to follow the public health recommendation,” he said in the health district release. “By making individual safe choices, we can ensure the safety of our overall community and that these businesses can continue to remain open.”

This report has been updated to correct a typing error. The 25% of capacity limit applies to facilities larger than 12,000 square feet, not 1,200 square feet.

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