Ridge Athletic Club

The Ridge Athletic Club is closed due to COVID-19 Thursday in Bozeman. The state will allow gyms, theaters and museums to begin reopening on May 15.

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Gallatin County health officials will decide this week whether to allow gyms, museums and theaters to open after Gov. Steve Bullock revised the state’s reopening guidelines to allow those businesses to reopen Friday.

The Gallatin City-County Board of Health will discuss Wednesday whether to align its emergency rule to follow those guidelines. The meeting will happen at the county courthouse at 7 a.m. and be streamed online.

Bullock announced the reopening date for gyms, theaters and museums last week. He said the decision to expand the openings was made after consulting with public health experts. The businesses will have to operate at half-capacity, require social distancing and adhere to strict cleaning protocols.

If passed, the county’s emergency rule would adopt those guidelines and make it a misdemeanor if a business owner or employees are found out of compliance. If convicted of the misdemeanor, violators could be fined up to $500.

Steve Roderick, owner of the Ridge Athletic Clubs, emailed its gyms members on Friday and said the gym is reviewing the state’s guidelines. He said to look for another email this week that would outline the gym’s “return to operations.”

“Our pledge to you is that we will not open our doors if we are not sure of our ability … to maintain proper safety guidelines,” Roderick said in the email.

Alicia Harvey, Museum of the Rockies marketing director, has told the Chronicle the museum would make an announcement this week regarding opening.

For gyms with pools, spas, hot springs and hot tubs, locker rooms and showers are allowed to open. Public pools must remain closed. Markers, buoys and floating pool ropes should be used when possible to mark swimming areas and traffic coming in and out of the pool.

Gyms are prohibited from offering day passes or walk-ins. Employees are required to wipe down frequently touched areas and ensure members are cleaning equipment properly.

After closing, gyms must follow a cleaning checklist to ensure nothing is missed during disinfecting. A 24-hour gym must close from 11:30 p.m. to midnight to properly disinfect.

For theaters and museums, interactive portions that offer touch displays are not allowed to operate. Those businesses must control traffic with signage or ropes to allow social distancing and provide hand sanitizer or hand-washing stations throughout the building.

Theaters and museums are also required to create a written response plan to COVID-19.

Theater ushers could enforce social distancing policies and limit lines to keep more than 6 feet between people or families. Increased time between showings should allow ushers to clean frequently touched surfaces like arm rests and railings.

Businesses should train employees to recognize symptoms and proper hand washing procedures. Guidelines are in place for businesses that were visited by someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Other “places of assembly” like bowling alleys, bingo halls, performance theaters and indoor and outdoor rodeos must remain closed.

This story has been updated to show the amended health rule would require public pools remain closed. Gym locker rooms are allowed to be open but should be monitored by staff to prevent overcrowding.

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Freddy Monares can be reached at fmonares@dailychronicle.com or at 406-582-2630.