Save Boston Fitness
Save Boston Fitness
We are a group of small local fitness gyms and studios in Boston. We have come together to create this petition to save our businesses during this difficult time, becuase there is no data supporting a shut down for our industry. In fact, we have some of the lowest COVID-19 cases and spread over all industry types.
We were shut down due to COVID-19 public health measures in March of 2020, since re-opened in July 2020, and the city of Boston is again asking us to shut down on December 14th, 2020. Since March, we have struggled to stay afloat, and many have already gone out of business. Since March, we also have 9 months of data on how COVID-19 is spreading. We ask that you use that data to make decisions on shut downs instead of aimlessly shutting down businesses and reverting to policies that were created without data at the beginning of the pandemic. We have put our entire lives into these businesses, and we cannot handle another shut down at this point without any funding from the city, state, or federal government. Due to this mandate, many of us will have to close our doors permanently. We desperately need funding, or risk bankruptcy. Our expenses are high, many of us have large loans, high rent, and while many of us pivoted to virtual fitness classes back in April during our shut down, our virtual classes simply cannot compete with big brands like Peloton.
If you look at the official state of MA health data report related to COVID-19, it states on page 35 that the recreation/cultural category accounted for a total of 17 COVID cases from November 8th - December 5th. It also sates on page 33 that the recreation/cultural category includes the following business types: gyms, fitness centers, swimming pools, beaches, movie theaters, golfing, boating, casinos.
There were a total of 35,109 cases in the state of Massachusetts from November 8th 2020 - December 5th 2020. Therefore, gyms account for less than .048% of COVID cases in the state of Massachusetts. Shutting us down will not make a difference in the fight against COVID, but it will wipe out an entire community that is essential in this city. The Boston fitness industry might be small, but it hosts fundraising classes, fundraising road races, promotes a healthy lifestyle, and often partners with other local businesses such as restaurants, retail stores and independent artists to build community and support the local economy. In fact, at the beginning of the pandemic, we raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Boston Greater Food Bank through virtual fitness classes. We did the same for the Black Lives Matter movement this summer, and if we have to close, we won't be able to do that anymore. We are an essential part of this city's community, not to mention people's health.
In addition, it is proven that exercise, human interaction, and getting out of your house is a huge combat to stress, anxiety, and depression, which is on the rise during this pandemic. We provided people with a healthy and safe way to combat their stress during this hard time, with little to no spread of COVID. Why would you take that away?
The New York State Governor recently reversed a gym closure mandate due to lack of data on spread at fitness facilities. We ask Boston does the same. We ask that the city of Boston reverse its decision to shut down gyms until we have adequate funding. Restaurants are allowed to be open with far less strict restrictions, and we feel we are a forgotten industry with this administration.
While we were open, we operated under extremely strict measures, without question, to keep our community safe. We spaced customers 14ft apart, and we were just given a mask mandate by Gov. Baker that went into effect Sunday, December 13th. You shut us down the day after the mandate went into place. Why didn't you allow us to try out the mask mandate? Even without masks, our 14ft spacing clearly did not spread COVID 19 according to official state data. You also only gave us 36 hours notice to figure out a way to pivot our business AGAIN, without any warning or any funding.
Many of the smaller fitness facilities are what we call "fitness studios". If you haven't been to one, it is very different than a normal gym. Customers need to book classes ahead of time. Their spot has been cleaned, and they go directly to their one workout space. They do not share equipment, they are 14ft away from any other customers, and when class is over, they leave, and we have 30 minutes to clean before we repeat that process. This is extremely safe, and has proven to not spread the virus.
We ask to continue to operate under the previous mandated measures, and remain at 40% capacity, spaced a minimum of 6ft apart, with masks, just like we've safely done for the last 6 months. While we care greatly about the health of this city, state, and country, data shows that we are not the problem and shutting us down will not make a dent in the fight against COVID. But it will force us into bankruptcy, and kill an industry that has done nothing but good things for your city.
Lastly, it is clear from the data that in home gatherings are causing the spread. In the same time frame that gyms accounted for 17 COVID cases, these gatherings accounted for almost 32,000. Your statement that you want to keep people home, does not make sense, becuase when people stay home together, they are not social distancing or wearing masks. Wouldn't you rather friends go to a socially distant safe workout class together to socialize as opposed to get together for a house party?
We ask that you combat the in house gatherings with travel restrictions and house gathering fines and police regulation, as opposed to putting hard working, enthusiastic, local entrepreneurs out of business and killing an industry that makes people mentally and physically healthier. Small businesses are the character of this city, and we are permanently closing our doors at an alarming rate. Please, follow the data and allow us to operate under our previous regulations that are proven to be safe.
The Boston Fitness Community