Perhaps North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper didn’t like being the only state in the union with gyms and fitness centers still closed.
Perhaps it was the fact that several national fitness chains had announced they were reopening their fitness centers in North Carolina despite Cooper’s executive order keeping them closed.
Perhaps Cooper found a fax from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services informing him that the science, the data and facts indicated he could safely reopen gyms.
For whatever reason, Cooper on Tuesday, Sept. 1 announced that he was going to allow gyms in North Carolina to crack their doors open on Friday, Sept. 4 beginning at 5 p.m.
The new executive order from Cooper, number 163, will allow gyms and other indoor fitness facilities such as yoga and dance studios, boxing clubs, skating rinks and bowling alleys to open at 30 percent capacity along with the other restrictions, masks, enhanced cleaning and the rest that have become a part of life during the coronavirus shutdown.
Museums and aquariums are allowed to open at 50 percent capacity. Retail businesses and restaurants remain limited to 50 percent of their official capacity.
The number of people allowed at a “mass gathering” was also increased from 10 to 25 for indoor gatherings and from 25 to 50 for outdoor gatherings. This limit of 50 people continues to apply to stadiums and arenas, even those where the official capacity is above 50,000, but does not apply to the government or to educational institutions.
Playgrounds can reopen but entertainment facilities including movie theaters and amusement parks cannot.
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who is the Republican candidate for governor running against Cooper, in a press release said, “Is this decision based on science or politics? The science has shown for months that gyms, playgrounds and bowling alleys are safe. It must be the politics and polling that is changing with this new decision. The same holds true for other businesses and for schools. Other states have their businesses and schools open. It’s time for fear and panic to be replaced with hope and opportunity. It’s time for Gov. Cooper to actually protect the most vulnerable and give North Carolinians their freedoms and livelihoods back.”