Governor Murphy's "Gym" Executive Order 181 and
NJ Department of Health's Guidance For Health Clubs/Gyms/Fitness Centers
As a follow up to today's Friday with Fran please find Executive Order 181 Click Here for Executive Order 181 and New Jersey Department of Health's Guidance For Health Clubs/Gyms/Fitness Centers. Click Here for Guidance.
Please see Fran McGovern's article below addressing the Executive Order.
Governor Murphy issued his “gym” Executive Order 181 on August 27, 2020. There has been confusion as to whether Executive Order 181 was intended to apply to gyms, fitness centers and similar amenities in condominiums, cooperatives, and homeowners’ associations.
Executive Order 157, paragraph 8a. expressly referred to: ““Health clubs” as defined by N.J.S.A. 56:8-39, which include gyms and fitness centers, as well as any health club facilities located in hotels, motels, condominiums, cooperatives, corporate offices, or other business facilities.”
However, Executive Order 181 paragraph 1. only expressly referred to: “Health clubs” as defined by N.J.S.A. 56:8-39, which include gyms and fitness centers, as well as amusement and water parks…”.
Further Executive Order 181 paragraph 4. provides that: “Paragraphs 8 and 10 of Executive Order No. 157 (2020) are superseded to the extent that they are inconsistent with the provisions of this order.”
N.J.S.A. 56:8-39b. provides: “Health club” means and establishment which devotes or will devote 40% or more of its square footage to providing services or facilities for the preservation, maintenance, encouragement or development of physical fitness or physical well-being. The term includes an establishment designated as a “reducing salon”, “health spa”, “spa”, exercise gym”, “health studio”, “Health club” or by other terms of similar import.”
Some argue that Executive Order 181 does not allow Associations to open their gyms at all except for under the very narrow circumstances in Executive Order 157, paragraph 10 (essentially only one-on-one individualized training).
They argue this because few, if any, associations meet the square footage requirements noted in N.J.S.A. 56:8-39b. and Executive Order 181’s definition of “Health club” is “inconsistent with” Executive Order 157’s definition of “Health club”.
It’s hard to imagine that Governor Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Health went to the great lengths they did only to purposely and circuitously carve out what are the majority of the gyms in New Jersey. However, only the Governor and Governor’s Counsel knows for sure.
Regardless, as with the pools, even if Executive Order 181 is properly construed to allow hotels, motels, condominium, cooperatives, corporate offices, or other business facilities to open their gyms subject to the Governor’s and Department of Health’s requirements, we advise against doing so. The insurance coverage denial issues that loomed large in the pool opening discussions remain. The Governor’s and Department of Health’s requirements impose burdens similar to those imposed on the pools.
As with the pools, the gym opening risk/cost/benefit analysis weighs against opening the gyms even if the Association intends to comply with Executive Order 181.
McGovern Legal Services, LLC
BY: Francis J. McGovern, Jr.
Francis J. McGovern, Jr., Esq.