In times of coronavirus, exercise studios never really had a chance: Shared exercise equipment is known to be extremely germ-laden in the best of times, and COVID-19 is catchable by proximity to an infected person who is asymptomatic. There isn’t a feasible way to prevent transmission in a group exercise class.
Late last week, East Coast exercise studios began closing down; as of today, many West Coast exercise studios are coming around to reality and shuttering, after numerous emails to customers touting their improved cleaning strategies. Here are a few examples:
- CorePower Yoga is closed nationwide as of today and offering free online yoga for all.
- Barre3 closed its company-owned studios in Portland, Oregon, as of Monday morning, offering two weeks of free online classes with the code BARRE3HOMEBODY.
- ClassPass is also onboard, offering paused memberships and rollovers of all unused class points until June.
But many nationwide exercise studio chains are franchises, and corporate headquarters’ ability to close studios depends on their franchise agreements. For example, OrangeTheory has waived cancellation fees—and garnered angry feedback for not closing nationwide (“Stop contributing to the pandemic.”)
Gyms had been valiantly hanging on, dodging the restaurant-and-bar closures of some cities and states, until this morning: The governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut banded together to close down gyms and movie theaters.
Other states are expected to follow.