Health officials issue reminder of new regulations for Montana gyms, theaters

Posted at 2:35 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 16:35:33-04

As gyms, fitness centers, movie theaters and museums in Montana start to reopen Friday, Yellowstone County health officials are reminding customers and users of new regulations to curb COVID-19 spread.

Health officials said in a Wednesday news release that gyms are open only to registered members at 50 percent capacity. No group classes are allowed. Hand-sanitizer stations and disposable towels must be available throughout the facility, and six-foot distance must be maintained everywhere, including locker rooms.

Gyms are also required to close part of each day for cleaning. Fitness center pools can reopen but only at 50 percent capacity.

Movie theaters and museums also can only open at 50 percent capacity and must install signs to encourage distancing.

“We recognize the tremendous importance of physical activity and fitness, but we want people to be safe. Theaters and museums are part of our local culture, and we want people to enjoy them, but we would urge them to wear a mask, maintain a safe physical distance from others and use proper hygiene measures,” said Yellowstone County Health Officer John Felton in a statement.

Last week, Gov. Steve Bullock announced he was adding gyms, movie theaters and museum into his phase one reopening plan for Montana. Bullock said Wednesday he has not identified when the state should move into phase two, which would allow all businesses to accept larger groups.

In addition, the health department is encouraging all businesses in Yellowstone County to:

· Continue staff teleworking where possible.

· Consider alternative schedules, staggering shifts.
· Develop and implement health assessments for all employees at the beginning of each shift.
· Monitor workforce for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 infection.
· Close common areas where employees congregate if physical distancing cannot be maintained.
· Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and high-traffic areas often.
· Minimize non-essential staff travel.

The health department has also released guidelines for individuals to stay safe from COVID-19:

· Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a nickel-sized blob of hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.

· Cover cough and sneezes.
· Wear a cloth facemask or other face covering when out in public.
· Keep your distance of at least six feet from others not in your household when standing in line or inside a business.
· Stay home if you are sick or at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness.