gym

Jes Scheel teaches yoga at Juniper Swim & Fitness Center in Bend on Monday, June 8, 2020. Purple markings on the floor outline safe distancing workout spaces.

Gyms can reopen under tight guidelines to control COVID-19 infections, Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday.

The new rules for "indoor recreation" were included in an update of county risk levels.

There was little movement among counties from their risk levels two weeks ago. Nearly all of the state's most populous counties were among the 26 that remained in the extreme risk category.

Under the four-tier risk ratings, counties are assigned a level based on COVID-19 spread: lower, moderate, high or extreme. As the levels go up, more health and safety measures, along with business and activity restrictions, are required.

Tillamook County was the big mover, dropping from extreme risk all the way to lower risk. Curry County went from moderate to lower. Grant rose from lower to moderate risk. All other counties remained in the current status.

The levels will be in place from Friday through Feb. 11, with the next revision announced Feb. 9

Brown said the state will issue new guidelines allowing for indoor activities that were previously banned in extreme risk counties.

Beginning Friday, a maximum of six people can be indoors at facilities such as gyms that are over 500 square feet. The new rules do not include indoor dining. 

Facilities smaller than 500 square feet allow for one-to-one customer experiences, such as personal training. 

All facilities must follow guidelines on social distancing, face coverings, hygiene and cleaning of surfaces. The full updated guidance will be posted to coronavirus.oregon.gov by January 29.

Brown encouraged people to exercise outdoors whenever possible.

"The science has shown us that outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities when it comes to the spread of COVID 19," she said.

But a recent drop in infection rates and the lack of a major "spike" in COVID-19 cases over the winter holidays allowed for some limited indoor activity during the colder winter months.

"We have seen over the last several weeks that Oregonians have largely complied with risk levels to the point that we have not seen a surge in hospitalizations that would have jeopardized hospital capacity," Brown said.

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