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Gyms are reopening in Knox County on May 1. Here is what you need to know

From strict physical distancing and sanitizing policies to wearing face masks, here is what you need to know before you hit the gym.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — Gyms and fitness centers are among the phase one businesses in Knox County that are allowed to open on Friday, May 1 under the phased reopening plan.

While many of us may be ready to get back into our fitness routines, shed some of the weight we may have gained while staying home or just work off some of that restless energy, there are going be several changes that you MUST keep in mind before you trade in your sweatpants for tennis shoes.

RELATED: What businesses opening in phase one of Knox County's plan need to know

RELATED: Gyms in most Tennessee counties can reopen on May 1

Physical distancing

According to the county reopening guidelines, these facilities can only operate if at least 6 feet of physical distancing is maintained at all times.

They will be required to move, restrict or mark off equipment so clients can only use machines that are at least 6 feet apart.

This also includes limiting occupancy to five members per 1,000 square feet. Workout times may also be limited to accommodate members and limited occupancy.

These facilities are also asked to operate with staffed hours only, which means guest use is not allowed for the time being. 

Face masks

All patrons and employees will be REQUIRED to wear face coverings even if they are able to stay at least 6 feet apart. Heavy breathing while exercising is thought to be an activity that expels significantly more virus than talking, according to research used in making the guidelines.

Patrons and employees must be screened for exposure and illness prior to using the facility.

Sanitizing

You will be required to wash or sanitize your hands when you enter the facility

Signs must be visible at the entrance, front desk and throughout the facility stating that sanitizing stations must be used before and after the use of each piece of equipment.

All equipment must be sanitized between users. 

PATIENCE!!!

Adjusting to these new practices will be challenging for gym-goers and employees alike.

Follow the rules as they are implemented by these facilities. If you see someone breaking these policies, respectfully inform a supervisor or employee and let them handle the situation.

Keep in mind that it is not the end of the world if you cannot get in or use the equipment you want right away.

Be flexible in understanding that certain policies may change as time goes on.

Remember, getting to use these facilities is a privilege, and following these guidelines will help keep you and everyone around you safe and healthy. 

We can move on to the next phase if phase one is successful. That will be based on data, including new cases and deaths. The phases may be adjusted as time goes on and officials learn what works and what doesn't.

By doing our part in using these facilities, we can help with that success.

For more information on the reopening plan and guidance for individuals, click here.

AT-HOME OPTIONS: No gym, no problem: Try these simple at home workouts during COVID-19 pandemic

RELATED: Most Knox Co. businesses will reopen May 1 under phased reopening plan