Latest health directive requires masks to be worn during workouts

Changes at the gym under new health directive

SHELBY CO., Tenn. (WMC) - A new Shelby County Health Department directive that took effect Monday requires gym patrons to keep their masks on while they work out at the gym.

Like other gyms, the Kroc Center in Memphis implemented COVID-19 protocols in an effort to keep gym patrons safe, including requiring temperature checks at the door.

Patrons were also required to wear masks when entering the gym but could take their masks off while they worked out.

“Now with the new [directive], they’re going to have to continue to keep that mask on throughout their workout,” explained Jacob Mann, the fitness coordinator at the Kroc Center in Memphis.

New SCHD health directive goes into effect today

The only exceptions are if someone is taking a shower or swimming in the pool.

Dr. Steven Threlkeld, an infectious disease specialist at Baptist Hospital, explained why wearing a mask as you work out inside a gym with others is a good idea.

“Is someone breathing harder and therefore expelling more virus into the air when they’re working out? Yeah. It’s like singing, laughing hard, shouting. Those kinds of things expel more virus and so it’s reasonable to try to have people mask when they can,” said Threlkeld.

Mann says people will have to monitor themselves to make sure they don’t overdo it when working out with a mask on.

Threlkeld says most people may be able to wear a thin paper mask as they work out.

Mann says the Kroc Center had already moved many of its classes online, so people can work out at their home without a mask.

He says those who still visit the gym in person will have to comply with the directive.

“For the greater good, we’ve got to make sure everyone’s got their masks on, and whether they’re working out, walking through the building, picking up their kid, no matter what, they’ve got to keep their mask on,” said Mann.

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