Gyms in Minnesota are open: What you need to know

Muna Hassan

(Photo by William Choquette from Pexels)

On April 1, 2021, Minnesota updated its guidelines for COVID-19 restrictions for gyms, studios and fitness centers. These facilities are allowed to be open under current guidelines as long as they adhere to the limitations laid out by the state.

Here are some of the key points:

  • Everyone entering a gym or fitness facility must wear a mask, even while working out.
  • Social distancing of 6 feet must be maintained while inside the facility.
  • Activities that are able to be held virtually (meetings, training sessions, etc.) should be done so.
  • A maximum of 50 percent capacity is allowed.
  • Group fitness classes can resume at a maximum of 25 people per class.
  • Pools and hot-tubs can be open.
  • Saunas and steam rooms must remain closed.

As long as gyms are following the proper protocols, here's what is allowed right now under the Stay Safe Guidance for Gyms, Studios and Fitness Centers.

Is It Safe to Go to the Gym Right Now?

As new infections of COVID-19 decrease, Minnesota is loosening its restrictions on many establishments throughout the state. Gyms are among those facilities that can be open under current guidelines as long as they follow the standards set forth by the state.

Gyms, studios and fitness centers must ensure participants are able to maintain a 6-foot social distance throughout the facility. While 50 percent capacity is allowed, if social distancing is not possible at this capacity, fitness facilities must reduce their maximum capacity for the time being.

For example, this means that if only 20 only members can maintain social distance within a facility at a time, that is the maximum number of people allowed in the facility. This is regardless of whether the rated capacity in normal times is 40 people or 150 people.

According Stay Safe MN, "Gyms, personal fitness and yoga studios, or martial arts spaces with sufficient normal occupant capacity may exceed 250 people per applicable percentage limits and guidance."

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Rules for group fitness classes

Group fitness classes can take place under current guidelines. Class participation cannot exceed 25 people for indoor classes and 50 people for outdoor classes. This participation includes students, teachers and anyone else in the class area. Observers and spectators are not allowed in the class area while the class is in progress.

It is required that reservations be made for group fitness classes. Access to each class is restricted to individuals who have a reservation prior to the class starting.

As with everywhere else in the facility, a 6-foot social distance must be maintained throughout the class period.

Additionally, face masks must be worn throughout the entire class. The only exception to this is when a person is hydrating -- but even this is restricted. Those who need to hydrate "must not be engaged in any activities involving physical exercise or exertion while doing so and must ensure they are socially distanced from others," according to the official guidelines. No food is allowed in the classroom area.

The current guidelines state that classes, sessions and other activities are encouraged to be conducted virtually versus in-person when possible for the time being.

(Photo by Heart Rules from Pexels)

Rules for Pools, Hot-Tubs and Saunas

Current guidelines state that pools, hot-tubs and whirlpools can be open in Minnesota. However, as with other locations within the facility, there are restrictions. Pools currently have a 50-percent capacity maximum (not to exceed 250 people) with the standard 6-foot social distancing maintained. Those in the pool area who are swimming should not wear a facemask, as wearing a wet mask is a swimming hazard and increases the risk of drowning.

Current mandates also prohibit steam rooms and saunas from opening. These facilities must remain closed until further notice. It remains unclear when this guidance might change.

Rules for Locker Rooms

Locker rooms can be open as long as social distancing can be maintained by individuals. Facilities must also ensure social distancing is possible through the establishment of partitions, queuing or arranged seating. If these requirements are not able to be met within a locker room, it must remain closed for the time being.

Additionally, face-coverings must be worn in the locker rooms at all times. The only exception is when a person is showering, as a wet mask can be a health hazard. You can read more about the current guidelines for gyms, studios and fitness centers on the Stay Safe MN website.

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Muna has been a journalist and fitness professional for more than 10 years. With degrees in exercise science and dietetics, Muna focuses on informing people about how to lead a healthier lifestyle. Muna is the owner of Body and Mind by Muna, an online gym for at-home workouts, as well as MuslimahFit, a fitness app for women.


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