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De Blasio defends going to the gym amid outbreak: 'I need exercise to be able to stay healthy and make decisions'
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) defended going to the gym Monday even as the city moves to curtail public gatherings amid the
De Blasio was asked about attending his Brooklyn public gym at a press conference and responded he knew he was entering a "very socially distanced situation."
"There was almost no one there. I had heard that information prior," he said. "I suspected that we were all going to be about to close them down, and this would be the last time to get some exercise."
The mayor added that he didn't get to exercise "whatsoever" during the weekend because he was "in this building." De Blasio said that he will find a "new way" to exercise "going forward."
"I did not think for a moment there was anything problematic because I knew the dynamics," he said. "And again, I have to stay healthy so I can make the decisions for the people of this city."
Several states and cities have shut down bars, movie theaters and other public facilities amid the coronavirus outbreak. Gyms across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were scheduled to close at 8 p.m.
The mayor was criticized on social media, including by former Fox News and NBC News personality Megyn Kelly, for his decision to go to the gym before it shut down on the same day public schools closed.
A spokesman for the mayor had said earlier Monday that it was his last planned trip, adding he wanted to "visit a place that keeps him grounded one last time."
"That doesn't change the fact that he is working around the clock to ensure the safety of New Yorkers. After today, gyms will close and he will no longer be visiting the YMCA for the foreseeable future," Freddi Goldstein said in a statement.