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'Not everyone likes it, but I think we know the alternative' | Gym owners react to Gov. Cooper's stricter mask rules

The latest Executive Order now requires people to wear masks while working out indoors. Previously, people could remove their masks for strenuous exercise.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — On Monday, Governor Cooper announced at a press conference that the state would tighten mask requirements and enforcement across the state, starting Wednesday, November 25.

The latest Executive Order tightens the existing statewide mask requirement – making it clear that everyone needs to wear a mask whenever they are with someone who is not from the same household. 

The Order also adds the mask requirement to several additional settings including any public indoor space even when maintaining 6 feet of distance; gyms even when exercising; all schools public and private; and all public or private transportation when travelling with people outside of the household.

Previously, if someone was working out inside a gym or fitness facility - and maintaining social distance - they could take off their mask while strenuously exercise. The new rules require those exercising indoors to keep face coverings on.

"I keep it on even during personal training, and it’s a big difference trying to work out with your mask on when you’re breathing heavy and sweaty, so it takes some getting used to but it’s what we have to do," said Carol Hall, with Fearless Fitness in Greensboro. 

She told WFMY News 2 the pandemic brought many challenges, and only some of her clients feel comfortable working out inside the studio. Hall doesn't know how the stricter mask requirement will impact them. However, she said as long as her members want to work out at the gym - they will remain open.

"Not everyone likes it, we understand that, but I think that everyone knows the alternative," said Stephen Kindler, Jr., President and CEO of National Fitness Partners - a Planet Fitness franchisee. 

He said his gyms will continue to set an example - and abide by any of the changes set by the Governor. 

"We’re just going to have to really try to educate our members who may not agree with the policy," he said, "And, just let them know that we understand their frustration. We get it. But we are here to roll out policies as Governor Cooper has outlined that allow our business to remain open."

You can read the latest Executive Order by clicking here.