ALBANY — Gyms, malls and movie theaters — long thought to be a part of Phase IV — will not open with the other entertainment and recreation businesses on July 1.
County Executive Dan McCoy said he learned of the change in plans during his daily conference call with the “control room,” the heads of the other seven counties that make up the Capital District and state officials who tell the different regions what they can and can’t do.
“After our Capital Region Control Room call today with Budget Director Robert Mujica, we now know Phase IV will not allow for the reopening of all remaining businesses at the outset,” McCoy said in a statement.
“Outdoor and lower risk indoor activities” can open such as movie and film production, museums, aquariums and zoos at 25 percent capacity.
The broad definition of Phase IV businesses included recreation, entertainment and higher education.
Retail was allowed to open in Phase II but the common areas in malls like Crossgates and Colonie Center remain shuttered, excluding many smaller stores who did not have independent access for the public.
Store owners and elected officials held a press conference recently asking that malls open prior to the Phase IV since Walmart, Home Depot and other big box stores were deemed essential and allowed to remain open throughout the pandemic.
Many gymnasiums were preparing for an opening at the onset of Phase IV but will now have to wait even longer — even though the infection and hospitalization rates and the number of deaths are the lowest in New York since mid-March when the pandemic began to take hold.
Capital District YMCA President and CEO David Brown, while appearing with McCoy on June 18, said the facilities were set to require reservations to keep capacity in check and equipment was been spread out to maintain social distancing. Masks were to be worn at all times except while working out and temperatures would be taken at the door.
Staff was going to train members on how to properly wipe down equipment and the Y already purchased different, more powerful, disinfectant. The facilities upgraded air circulation systems and moved exercise classes around to accommodate social distancing protocols.
Locker rooms and the swimming pools would remain closed.
“We have a very sophisticated plan and we are starting very slowly,” he said prior to Tuesday’s news. “I feel very confident we will open safely so people can come in and get their workout.”
It is not clear how long gyms and malls will remain shuttered or even if they will open congruently.
There are spikes in several states that opened up on a faster pace and with less safety protocols in place than New York.