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Bay Area gym owners adjust to mask mandate changes

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Thursday was the first day that masks must be worn indoors in the Bay Area.

They’re required in public places, regardless of vaccination status in San Francisco, Alameda, Marin, Contra Costa, and Sonoma Counties.

One industry hit hard by these changes is gyms.

This is normally the time of year when gyms and fitness centers see an increase in membership because of New Year’s resolutions. 

Mask changes could not have come at a worse time for them, but health officials say it had to happen.

Gyms took a hit in 2020 and 2021, and 2022 looks like it will be off to a rough start.

Thursday was day one of the masks being required indoors at all public places, regardless of if you’ve been vaccinated or not.

Director of marketing at Fitness SF, Troy Macfarland says it’s been difficult keeping up with the ever-changing mask mandates.

“You just have to be really on top of it and make sure the communication is going out to the members clearly and that everyone’s aware,” Macfarland said. 

Out of his eight locations, Macfarland says the downtown gyms have had a harder time bouncing back from the pandemic.

A new year would normally mean new members, but he worries how many people will want to sign up if they have to wear a mask while working out.

“Mask mandate puts a little bit of a damper on that, but you know we understand and I think our members understand as well,” Macfarland said. 

Marin County announced their requirement of masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status after experiencing their highest number of positive cases Tuesday.

“338 cases, more than 100 more cases than we had ever seen before on a single day,” Dr. Matt Willis Public Health Officer for Marin County said.  

That’s a concern for the county’s Public Health Officer, Dr. Matt Willis. He says the exemption to mask-wearing indoors had to change given the numbers and the science behind omicron.

“It is highly contagious. We’re also learning that people who are fully vaccinated and not yet boosted are vulnerable to being affected,” Dr. Willis said. 

Masking while working out may not settle well with gym members, but it’s a health-conscious decision everyone has to go along with.

The statewide mask mandate will expire on January 15. 

San Francisco Health Officials say they will require masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status until January 31.

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