Licensing loophole allows yoga studios to reopen in New Jersey, while gyms still cannot

The owners of yoga studios have learned that they can now hold indoor classes because they are not considered to be fitness centers like traditional gyms.
The Hudson Yoga Project in Hoboken has been holding virtual classes for months, but recently learned that it can resume indoor classes.
“Turns out we could have already have been open. We didn’t know that until yesterday. So, we are taking our time. We won’t open until Aug. 1 to make sure we do it right. To make sure we are safe and sanitized,” says co-owner Kate Lombardo.
Gov. Phil Murphy’s office tells News 12 New Jersey that the reason that yoga studios can open and gyms cannot has to do with licensing. Yoga studios are not licensed as health clubs like other gyms, so they are considered recreational facilities. According to the governor’s recent executive order, recreation facilities can operate indoors at 25% capacity as long as there is social distancing and everyone wears masks.
“From a business standpoint, it’s been devastating to be closed for as long as we have been. And also, it made it so clear how dependent we are on the in-person community we’ve created here,” Lombardo says.
But Lombardo says that there is concern about opening safely. And there is also a concern for the rest of the fitness industry.
Next door to Hudson Yoga Project is the Cross Fit-style Brazen Athletics gym, which cannot reopen just yet.
“To know that one studio can do it and we can’t because of licensing – it’s upsetting,” says Brazen coach Courtney Roselle. “But if it’s the next stop to get us open, I’ll take it.”
Both businesses plan to continue to operate online as well and offer outdoor classes for members.