Grand Junction area gym members finally have a chance to catch their breath, literally. With the new public health order, fitness buffs no longer need to wear their mask during exercise.

According to Mesa County Public Health, Mesa County was certified as one of the first counties in the state for the Protect Our Neighbors phase of reopening. This week the Mesa County Board of Public Health approved Public Health Order 2020-04.

Before we go one step further, this doesn't mean you can leave the mask at home. You'll still need to wear your mask when entering or exiting your Colorado health club.

Mesa Fitness shared an announcement on their official Facebook page a few days ago. The statement reads:

We have exciting news from Mesa County Public Health!!!
With a new public health order issued today, members no longer have to wear a mask during exercise AS LONG AS THEY CAN MAINTAIN SOCIAL DISTANCING. Members are required to wear a mask while entering and exiting the facility.

Like the Facebook post states, social distancing measures remain in effect. Occupancy limits also remain in effect. The good news there is with most gyms, at least in my experience, while you do have peak hours, the occupancy at any given time is not usually that high. Whereas Mesa County is concerned, facilities must limit occupants to 50% of their normal capacity or 500 people, whichever is less.

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So, I'll be the bad guy and come right out and ask it - Have gym patrons observed mask requirements and social distancing requirements thus far? Based on what I've observed, the answer is yes and no. For months now I've seen gym members wearing their masks as they enter and exit. I typically visit three different gyms in the valley, and this has been the case at all three. On the other hand, in at least one case, I've observed members not wearing their masks when working out. In all cases, though, I have seen a continued effort to maintain distance accompanied by genuine efforts to clean and sterilize equipment after use.

This could be a major milestone when it comes to the health industry rebounding from the shutdown. I know several people who stopped going to the gym due to the difficulties of a strenuous workout while wearing a mask. Check out the comments on the post from Mesa Fitness and you'll see what I mean. Several comments express excitement about finally returning to the gym.

Working out is grueling enough. Working out while wearing a mask is no walk on the beach. These changes to the current restrictions will be music to many ears. If you haven't been to the gym lately, perhaps it's time to make your big comeback.