New Mexico group fitness classes return under new health order

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Group fitness classes, among some of the last businesses to reopen in the state, are now back in business under the governor’s July 30 public health order.

Orangetheory Fitness, among the many local fitness studios that have been closed for more than four months, says they’re ready to welcome clients again.

“It’s been really frustrating because we know we can do an excellent job. We know that we can keep people healthy,” Orangetheory New Mexico Owner Lorraine Higgins said.

This update wasn’t mentioned at the governor’s press conference on Thursday, but the new public health order now lists group fitness classes as “close-contact” businesses, which are allowed to run at 25% capacity. Other businesses set to reopen include yoga, spin and barre studios, among others.

The governor’s office confirmed the update on Friday and said the following in an emailed statement:

The most recent public health order streamlines the categories of business operations. A group fitness class may, therefore, operate at 25% of the maximum occupancy of the enclosed space it operates in – the required COVID-safe practices must be in place masks are of course still required.

Higgins owns the four Orangetheory Fitness studios in the state and said they’ll reopen Friday, Aug. 7, at less than 25% capacity to make everyone feel more comfortable. She said clients will notice their extra health and safety precautions.

“We’ve practiced the check-in process, which is checking temperatures. We have been practicing taking classes in masks,” Higgins added.

The pandemic has been a big hit to their business. They anticipated being able to reopen back in June when traditional gyms were able to start running at half capacity. But, in July, she had to lay off all of her employees for a second time since the studios closed in March.

She is hopeful about regaining business moving forward. Her El Paso location, which has already reopened, has seen about 70% of their clients return.

The current public health order runs through August. The governor said she expects, in the next couple of days, to relax the restrictions about certain business travelers entering the state.

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