DC COVID data prompts fitness instructors’ calls for change

Eufemia Didonato

The city banned all indoor fitness classes and limited outdoor class to 25 people. WASHINGTON — Fitness studios and instructors are working to find new ways to engage their customers since D.C. updated its COVID-19 restrictions last month. The city banned all indoor fitness classes and limited outdoor class to […]

The city banned all indoor fitness classes and limited outdoor class to 25 people.

WASHINGTON — Fitness studios and instructors are working to find new ways to engage their customers since D.C. updated its COVID-19 restrictions last month.

The city banned all indoor fitness classes and limited outdoor class to 25 people.

However, some business owners and coaches are challenging the District’s response after new data was released this week.

“Actually, we’re trying to increase the quality of life and actually trying to boost your immune system by you coming in,” Aaron Lindsay said.

Lindsay is the owner of Fitness Theory Training and a coach at Sweat D.C.

He told WUSA9 the city’s move to ban indoor fitness classes and cut outdoor class sizes is the wrong one.

“The data shows in itself,” he said. “Gym, small boutiques, fitness studios aren’t the issue for the spikes of everything that’s going on.”

According to D.C. Health, the spots at the center of COVID-19 outbreaks are mostly schools, daycares and childcare facilities, and bars and restaurants.

Gyms and fitness studios fall under the retail category which accounts for less than a percentage of outbreaks between August and November 2020.

“We really created something beautiful out of kind of like a dark situation,” Sunny Miller said.

Miller and Lorenzo McFarland with Hustle D.C. explained the city’s coronavirus restrictions have forced them to move their cycling classes 100% online.

“We just kind of pivoted and said, ‘you know what – virtually the possibilities are endless,’” Miller said. “We do have so many people that have been streaming with us kind of throughout. So, let’s just tap into that.”

The cycle instructors started the business during the pandemic by hosting classes online and outdoors at the Wharf.

They had plans to move inside of a space at Union Stage during the cold months before the new restrictions came down.

Miller admitted the decision is impacting their wallets.

“To be really real – we don’t have any in-person revenue coming in. We’re having to hope that people are willing to do things virtually,” she said.

Coaches, such as Lindsay, are urging the city to make a change based on its own data.

“I would like to see a little bit more leniency as far as for the fitness professionals – as far as those trainers that are doing the right things,” Lindsay said.

Still, both teams are remaining positive and rolling with the punches during this year of uncertainty.

“We don’t really think about why not,” McFarland told WUSA9. “We’re just like okay. What’s next? How do we move around it? How do we still build the business the way we’d like it to look and continue to make it work?”

“Our energy is better spent on how we can be a part of the solution,” Miller said.

The District announced a $100-million grant program called the Bridge Fund to help businesses and workers who have been impacted by the pandemic and the restrictions.

Those who are affected can apply for this money on the city’s coronavirus website.

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