NYC Mayor Faces Lawsuit as City Keeps Group Fitness Centers From Reopening

New York City already allowed gyms to reopen after months of shutdown. Now, the indoor fitness studios sued Mayor Bill de Blasio after failing to include them in the easing of restrictions.

Exempted From Reopening

Various operators of fitness studios formed alliances to file a lawsuit against the city mayor. The two groups filed their case on Wednesday after Mayor de Blasio exempted group fitness classes from reopening.

The Boutique Fitness Alliance consists of nearly 100 group fitness studios in the city. Meanwhile, 2,500 New York gyms and fitness studios comprise the New York Fitness Coalition.

Several weeks ago, state governor Andrew Cuomo allowed gyms to operate, provided that they observe safety protocols. Gyms can operate at 33 percent capacity, and should also pass a virtual health inspection, per Forbes.

Group Fitness Not Allowed

However, the city still won’t allow group fitness centers, like yoga, to resume operations. Moreover, Mayor de Blasio also remarked that school and child care centers should come first in health inspection before gyms.

According to Charles Cassara, NY Fitness Coalition president, the inability of the city to inspect them does not suffice to keep them closed.

“We have remained shut seven weeks past phase four, for what has turned out to be with no real cause,” Cassara stated.

Meanwhile, Amanda Freeman, founder of Boutique Fitness Alliance, told CNN Business that her own studios reopened in some states in July. “We’ve been open in other states and haven’t had any [COVID-19] incidents.”

City’s Priority

The city mayor’s spokesperson explained that indoor fitness classes still pose a higher threat according to experts. The mayor’s priority remains to prevent another wave of coronavirus cases in the city.

“For now, that means avoiding high-risk activities that involve concentrations of people, breathing heavily, in small places,” the city’s deputy press secretary said.

Still, Freeman maintained that businesses under Boutique Fitness Alliance could stay safe as other gyms.

“All the boutique gyms offer such unique disciplines,” Freeman added. “So, there’s no one size fits all when it comes to adding an extra layer of safety, but we can all follow the same basic guidelines as gyms.”

Phillip Malone

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