A new report suggests that wearing a cloth mask doesn’t just protect others from COVID-19, it can protect you as well.
The gym chain Planet Fitness is the latest company to announce that it will require visitors and members to wear masks amid the pandemic.
The gym franchise with clubs across 46 states announced the plan Monday, saying that everyone working out at its facilities will have to wear face coverings starting Saturday. Currently, all employees are required to wear masks.
“As we continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic, amid an ongoing global health crisis, wellness has never been as essential to our collective community as it is today,” said Chris Rondeau, CEO at Planet Fitness, in a statement.
Since the start of the pandemic, people have questioned and worried about whether fitness facilities are hotbeds for viruses and bacteria. When people exercise, they tend to inhale and exhale at faster rates, letting out more respiratory droplets as they go. Floating respiratory droplets seem to be the primary way for COVID-19 to travel, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Planet Fitness, along with most other gyms in the U.S., closed down in March when the pandemic was declared. In recent months, many gyms across several states have reopened, some with and others without mask requirements as the virus continues to spread.
Most major gyms have announced plans to clean equipment more often between use and add more stations with hand sanitizer. Planet Fitness launched an app to check club capacity before you go and it says it will enhance other physical distancing measures.
“This added safety precaution also helps us to remain open to serve you and keep you healthy and moving!” Rondeau said.
On Monday, Life Time, which operates 150 workout and wellness facilities across North America, also kicked off its mask requirement based on CDC recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“As our clubs continue to reopen successfully and safely across the country, Life Time remains committed to doing all we can to support the health and wellbeing of our members and team members,” the company said in a statement.
Crunch Fitness doesn’t currently require members to wear masks, though employees will wear them. Equinox says members can remove masks while working out, though they will undergo body temperature checks before entering the gym.
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