Owners of fitness centers across NYC sign letter to mayor urging for return of indoor classes
Dozens of small fitness center owners across the city are pushing for the mayor to allow indoor fitness classes to return.
While gyms have been allowed to reopen at a limited capacity, indoor fitness classes like yoga or Zumba are still not allowed.
Owners of small fitness centers say that the restrictions are keeping them from bringing in the revenue they need to stay open.
Michael Carlin is the owner of Slope Fitness in Park Slope. He is one nearly 80 owners of small fitness centers who have signed a letter calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to allow indoor fitness, yoga and Pilates studios to operate indoors at 25% capacity.
"More than half of my members have pulled out of their gym memberships. We lost more than half of our generated revenue," Carlin says.
Carlin says his gym offers fitness classes with safety measures in place to help curb the spread of COVID-19. He says gym memberships have dropped drastically and he's hoping to allow fitness classes soon in an effort keep his business afloat.
"We can have somebody running on a treadmill and sweating and breathing through a mask, but the idea that we can't have a simple class like Pilates or stretching or tai chi, it's confusing," he says.
For fitness instructor Matthew Alexander, who has autism, he says fitness classes are essential for the special-needs community.
"Home fitness is not enough. I need that in person-social component," he says. "I have found and my colleagues have found that people are regressing, who are on the spectrum, they're regressing from sitting at an iPad because they don't have that in-person social component."
The mayor and health officials said in a recent press briefing that they're cautious about allowing indoor fitness classes to operate because it's difficult for participants to keep their masks on, or masks may get moist, making it less effective.
Carlin says he doesn't see that being a problem because of the safety guidelines being enforced at his gym.
Charlie Cassara, the president of the U.S. Fitness Coalition, says if indoor fitness classes are not allowed by the mayor soon, legal action could be taken.
"I'm hoping that he opens us before the lawsuit has to be heard," he says. "We're hoping that we can give these gyms, these fitness studios, yoga studios, and Pilates studios a fighting chance."