New York City Studio Operators Ask Mayor to Allow Them to Reopen

The United States Fitness Coalition and multiple studio operators sent a letter to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Feb. 10 asking him to reopen indoor fitness studios, the coalition announced.

The letter was sent after de Blasio announced that indoor dining would reopen on Feb. 12 at 25 percent capacity. The letter asked that indoor studios also be allowed to open at 25 percent capacity. Fitness centers other than studios have been open at 33 percent capacity in the state since September and at 25 percent in New York City.

“If it has been deemed safe to eat and drink with no masks but with proper social distancing, it follows that exercising six feet apart while wearing a mask and observing all safety protocols should be as safe, if not more so,” the letter states.

The letter was signed by around 100 fitness studio owners, including those at Crunch, Orangetheory Fitness, Pure Barre, Rumble, Rowhouse NYC, SLT, Fhitting Room, YogaSpark, BYKlyn Cycle and Fitness, BodyTonic, The Bar Method Noho, Tone Pilates and CKO Kickboxing. It was also signed by the presidents of the boroughs of Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island, as well as seven city council members and a state senator.

About 40 percent of indoor fitness businesses in New York City have closed their doors permanently while those who have not permanently closed have suffered an 80 percent to 100 percent revenue loss, according to the coalition. Although many studios have moved operations online, most have been unable to offset their losses by doing so.

“Although their collective voices may not have been heard as powerfully as others, their sacrifices have been no less great and the damage to their businesses has been severe, with job losses numbering in the thousands, and millions of dollars in revenues lost,” the letter states.

Because many studios are owned and operated by women, the continued closure of these facilities amounts to unintentional gender bias, the group stated in the letter.   

As of the morning of Feb. 16, the U.S. Fitness Coalition had not heard a response from the mayor's office. Club Industry has reached out to de Blasio’s office for comment.