Community Gyms Coalition Urges Congress to Act in Response to New D.C. Regulations

November 24, 2020 by
Photo Credit: Community Gyms Coalition
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On Monday, Washington D.C. Mayor, Muriel Bowser, and DC Health announced “adjustments” to the district’s Phase 2 reopening plan, including lower limits on both indoor and outdoor gatherings in general and requiring restaurants to stop serving alcohol at 10 PM. The only businesses in the city required to completely halt all indoor group activities, however, are gyms. “Open gym” and individual workouts are allowed according to these regulations.

  • Gyms are required to suspend all indoor group exercise classes and outdoor exercise classes of 25 or more. These restrictions go into effect today.  

One big thing: In response to these new restrictions, the Community Gyms Coalition (CGC) released a statement asking Congress to “act quickly to provide the fitness industry with direct financial relief that allows gym owners to survive and recover from these types of mandatory COVID-related closures.”

The state of play in D.C.:

  • The D.C. Phase 2 adjustments are in response to a resurgence of the coronavirus in the metro area.
  • According to the Washington Post, the past two weeks brought record caseloads and the test positivity rate has climbed beyond 5 percent, indicating widespread community transmission of the virus.
  • There were no additional restrictions placed on bars, restaurants, or retail establishments, however, worship services are now capped at 50 or 25% capacity, down from 100.  

What they’re saying: “Closing gyms will hurt public health and exacerbate other growing public health challenges like obesity, diabetes, depression, and other chronic illness,” Craig Howard, spokesperson for the CGC said. 

  • “Gyms have been among the hardest hit industries since the beginning of the pandemic, as D.C. and other states and municipalities have forced them to suspend operations, while other indoor establishments are permitted to stay open,” he continued.
  • “It’s vital that Congress act quickly to provide the fitness industry with direct financial relief that allows gym owners to survive and recover from these types of mandatory COVID-related closures,” Howard concluded.

The bottom line: While not directly asking that the closures be lifted, the Community Gyms Coalition has made a clear case that gyms have been disproportionately affected by COVID restrictions with little supporting evidence that virus transmission occurs at any higher rate in fitness facilities practicing social distancing and sanitation procedures. Instead, the CGC is calling on Congress to provide relief funding for gym owners to help them weather the closures, along similar lines to the legislation providing relief for restaurants.

  • The Community Gyms Coalition represents more than 15,000 community gyms in the United States, including CrossFit, Mindbody, Orangetheory Fitness, Planet Fitness, Self Esteem Brands, Xponential Fitness, and Zumba Fitness.

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