Some local gyms not requiring masks

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Amid rising case numbers and new masking recommendations from Monroe County, gyms like Athletic Apex in Penfield are saying it’s up to you whether or not you want to mask up while you work out.

This comes after County Executive Adam Bello and Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza recommended that as of Tuesday that people wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for areas with “substantial” community transmission.

"We’re gonna allow our members to decide if they feel comfortable with a mask or without a mask," said Athletic Apex CEO Jeff Sanders.

Part of the reason for Athletic Apex’s decision not to require masks is that it would be bad for business. Sanders is concerned requiring masks would make customers think twice about coming in for a workout.

"I think as long as we’re being safe and we’re being smart, then we can do that without having to make requirements that would push people away," Sanders said.

M/Body in the City of Rochester is adopting a similar policy — it’s only requiring unvaccinated members to wear a mask.

"We required everybody to sign a new waiver saying that yes they know that they’re required to wear a mask if they’re not vaccinated," said M/Body Owner and Founder Molly Flaherty. "I do feel confident knowing we’ve had these months here that people will mask if they’re not vaccinated."

It’s important to note that like vaccination policies, it’s up to each individual private business to decide for themselves what kind of masking policy is right for them and their community. While masks won’t be required for everyone in these gyms, other COVID practices like frequent disinfecting and social distancing are still in place.

"We have wipes that they’re built to kill this stuff,” Sanders said. “We still have everything spread out, you know, we’re still making sure that people are accommodated."

Other larger gyms, like the YMCA and the fitness center at the Jewish Community Center, are not requiring masks for members, but they are recommending them.