Salem residents can go to the gym and resume other indoor activities beginning Friday

Michele Vanderyacht, adjusts a sign on a blocked-off stationary bicycle at Epic Fitness on Thursday, July 30. Some equipment at the gym was closed to promote social distancing prior to the statewide shutdown of gyms in November. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Beginning Friday, Jan. 29, residents of Marion and Polk counties will be able to go to the gym or participate in other indoor activities.

Gov. Kate Brown announced on Tuesday that she was modifying pandemic restrictions for counties in the “extreme risk” category, which includes Marion and Polk counties. Gyms have been closed since mid-November in the Salem area and much of Oregon under Brown’s order, which was intended to limit Covid spread.

Beginning Friday a maximum of six people will be allowed in indoor facilities over 500 square feet for all activities except dining. Cleaning, social distancing, masking and other requirements will still be in effect. For facilities under 500 square feet, one-on-one activities will be allowed, such as personal training.

More details will be released Friday. In the meantime, Brown said in a news release that Oregonians have avoided a hospital surge by complying with pandemic restrictions.

“This means we are able to make these adjustments for Extreme Risk counties, which should assist both businesses and Oregonians as we continue to work to stop the spread of Covid-19,” she said in a statement.

Brown also said science shows that outdoor activities are less likely to spread Covid than indoor activities.

-Jake Thomas