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Reprinted from clubindustry.com 

Local, State Mandates Cause Some Health Clubs and Gyms to Close to Slow Spread of Coronavirus 

In an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, some local and state authorities are mandating the closure of gyms along with bars, restaurants and movie theaters. On March 16, President Trump recommended all Americans “avoid gatherings and groups of 10 or more people.” Some health clubs and YMCAs have reported members who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are temporarily closing for deep cleanings or closing until the end of the month.

Some fitness facilities are temporarily closing throughout the country as a means to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, which has been diagnosed in 3,813 people in the United States and killed 69 people in the country as of March 16, according to a coronavirus tracking site by Johns Hopkins.

For some of the facilities, the closings have been mandated by local or state officials. Others are closing because members have been diagnosed with COVID-19. For still other operators, the closings are due to an abundance of caution.

President Trump on March 16 recommended all Americans “avoid gatherings and groups of 10 or more people,” which may further limit the operational capacities of many facilities.

“We’re asking all [Americans] to hold their gatherings to under 10 people,” Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, said during a March 16 address. “Not just in bars and restaurants, but in homes. We really want people to be separated at this time.”

Gyms are currently mandated to be closed in the following cities, counties or states:

Prior to the Connecticut governor mandating the closings of gyms, Chelsea Piers announced on March 13 that it would close its three facilities (Stamford, Connecticut; Brooklyn, New York; and Manhattan, New York) until March 31.

Chelsea Piers Managing Partner David Tewksbury said in a statement: “We believe that, given the circumstances, temporarily closing is necessary to support the health needs of the communities where we are located, and which we serve and is in the best interest of our 1,000+ staff members and thousands of athletes and patrons who call Chelsea Piers home. We did not make this decision lightly and recognize the inconvenience it will cause our valued customers and members. Our overarching concern is the health of our community.”

Prior to the Pennsylvania governor closing gyms in five counties, Jim Worthington, owner of Newtown Athletic Club in Newtown, Pennsylvania, announced he was closing his club on March 15 for two weeks. He also closed his Horsham Athletic Club.

Due to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s order, Purenergy Studio executives announced that their facilities would close until March 30. The company will record classes at the studio so they can stream on its website for members.

Boston Magazine posted a list of health clubs and studios in Boston that are closed, as of March 13. Some facilities have closed until further notice (November Project). Others are closed for a few days for deep cleaning (EveryBodyFights), and others are closed until the end of the month (North End Yoga, Coolidge Yoga) while others are temporarily reducing class sizes (Barry’s Bootcamp, Handle Bar, BKBX and Back Bay Boxing). YogaWorks is allowing clients to freeze their memberships for three months.  

Members Diagnosed with COVID-19

Some clubs are closing due to members being diagnosed with COVID-19. The Edge in Burlington, Vermont, temporarily closed one of its locations after a member tested positive for the virus, according to WCAX3 TV station, but the facility re-opened on March 14.

The Rosemont Fitness Center in Rosemont, Illinois, has closed until March 30 after a member who regularly uses the pool was diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, according to Journal-Topics.com.

It’s not just larger clubs or those on the Coasts being affected. Even in Jackson, Wyoming, some facilities are closing. Julie Guttormson, the owner of studio VIM in Jackson, hastemporarily closed her studio to group classes, she announced on her website, although one-on-one training is available by appointment. She is allowing members to rent weekly an indoor bike for home use while the facility is closed, and she is offering free online barre, Pilates, yoga, ride, HIIT and Mommy and Me classes. She also is putting memberships on hold.   

Club Industry has reached out to Equinox, 24 Hour Fitness, Life Time and other health club companies to check on their plans. This story will be updated if responses are received.

Gold’s Gym International’s Twitter page shares that its facilities are open, and the franchised chain is offering its Gold’s AMP app for free to existing Gold’s Gym members so they can work out at home if they so choose. The tweet also notes that all facilities are on a rigorous cleaning schedule using “medical-grade solutions.”

Non-Profits Affected

Commercial clubs aren’t the only ones being affected. Several parks and rec facilities have closed, as mayors or governors in some cities and states ask people to limit gatherings to no more than 50 people.

The YMCAs of Middle Tennessee has suspended group exercise programming starting on March 16, and two of its branches—the Brentwood Family YMCA in Brentwood, Tennessee, and the Y’s Christ Church location—were closed for a deep cleaning over the weekend of March 14-15 after an employee at the Brentwood Y tested positive for the coronavirus. The two facilities will re-open on March 16.

In Illinois where the governor has called for the shut down of gyms along with restaurants and bars, the YMCA of Rock River Valley in Rockford, Illinois, has closed its five facilities until March 31.

On March 15, the YMCA of Greater Louisville has temporarily closed seven branches for two weeks, although it will still hold individual fitness and aquatics classes at five locations, according to its website.

The YMCA offers Y360, which offers free online classes, such as yoga, boot camp and barre, through YouTube for members of Ys across the country.

The YMCA of the USA is a national resource office for the country’s 2,600 YMCAs. It released a statement about the coronavirus. In part, the statement reads: “Each local Y is keeping a close eye on the developing news and recommendations from national and local health authorities. Ultimately, each Y is responsible for taking the steps it deems necessary to best ensure the safety of everyone in its community.”



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