Planet Fitness to require members to wear face masks while working out in gyms

One of the largest gym chains in the United States will soon require members to wear face masks.

The decision by Planet Fitness will go into effect Aug. 1 at its 1,450 locations that are open in the U.S., Canada and Australia.

Planet Fitness chief executive Chris Rondeau said in a statement gyms are part of the solution in the global coronavirus crisis.

“Given our leadership position within the industry, we believe it’s our responsibility to further protect our members, employees, and communities so that we can all safely focus on our health, which is more important now than ever before,” Rondeau stated.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged Americans to wear face coverings in public settings to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Many major retailers, including Walmart, Target and Kohl’s now require customers to wear face masks, McClatchy News reported.

Planet Fitness says it has already implemented other safety measures, including touchless check-in, cleaning stations, distancing on cardio and strength machines and a crowd meter on the Planet Fitness app to see how crowded each gym is.

It has asked gym-goers to wash their hands for 20 seconds before and after using equipment as well as social distancing while working out.

Other major fitness chains, including Gold’s Gym, Anytime Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness and LA Fitness, have not required members to wear masks nationwide, though some locations have.

The CDC says “wearing cloth face coverings is most important when physical distancing is difficult and when exercise type and intensity allows.” It suggests wearing face coverings while walking on indoor tracks, stretching or doing high-intensity yoga indoors.