Dec 15, 2020 - Axios Events

Former Surgeon General: Gyms that use best public health practices should stay open

A screenshot of Kendall Baker and former surgeon general Richard Carmona
Axios' Kendall Baker and former Surgeon General Richard Carmona (R). Photo: Axios

Gyms that follow coronavirus mitigation strategies — like enforcing masks, social distancing, and prompt cleaning — should stay open when possible under local guidelines, Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona said at a virtual Axios event on Tuesday.

Where it stands: Several states have shuttered gyms as coronavirus cases rise, or introduced limitations on how many customers can be inside the facility at once, per a New York Times tracker.

What he's saying: "And I think first and foremost, whatever you're doing, we have to adhere to the best public health practices, social distancing, wearing a mask, stay within your own bubble at home. Don't be interacting with lots of people you don't know, things like that," Carmona said.

  • "Now when you take it to a gym ... you have to really step up and make sure the staff is on board, there's a team approach, there's cleaning, there's social distancing, there's masking, machines are separated much further apart now so that we have the social distancing."
  • "So I think when those best public health practices can be applied, we should consider letting those facilities stay open when possible based on epidemiologic data, because people need that social connection."
  • Carmona noted that "mental health and physical health are connected inextricably," and it was important for people to stay active during the pandemic.

Watch the full event here.

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