EAST HAMPTON, NY — Gym owners struggling during the coronavirus crisis in in East Hampton may soon get a much-needed boost from town officials.
Established East Hampton fitness and Orange County Car Accident Law Firm exercise studios, which have been financially affected by the shutdown during the pandemic, will see hope on the horizon with the adoption Friday of a temporary provision allowing them to hold outdoor exercise classes on a separate commercial property, with the property owner’s permission, a release from East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said.
The town code as written restricts the use of outdoor areas on commercial properties.
An executive order signed Friday by Van Scoyoc includes a measure that will temporarily relax a portion of the town code to allow fitness businesses to apply for a permit to hold offsite outdoor classes, provided social distancing, group size restrictions, and rules regarding face masks are followed.
The permit application can be found here.
As many local gyms and workout facilities are experiencing extreme financial challenges due to the pandemic, East Hampton town officials determined that allowing for the expansion of outdoor training and activities may provide some financial protection for exercise studio and recreation facility owners.
In addition, outdoor classes will help protect the public health by providing a safe opportunity to exercise, the release said.
Last week, fitness facility owners across New York filed a class-action lawsuit after gyms were yanked from the state’s coronavirus reopening plan.
Van Scoyoc, through an earlier executive order, made clear that yoga and Pilates studios could hold socially distanced classes on their own premises. However, not all fitness businesses have the outdoor space for classes. The new order allows business owners to make arrangements with a private commercial property owner to use an alternate site. Both parties must fill out sections of the town permit application, the release said.
“Many of our local businesses have been hard-hit by COVID-19 related shutdowns,” said Van Scoyoc. “While some economic sectors have been able to reopen and begin rebuilding, the fitness sector poses special health safety concerns and challenges. I will continue to work with businesses to help get our community back to work.”
Earlier this summer, as restaurants were given the state’s go-ahead to reopen for outdoor dining, Van Scoyoc green-lighted the use of expanded outdoor dining areas, establishing a permit process for restaurants to temporarily add more tables outdoors than the town code permits.