Workout group classes keep fitness studios closed as traditional gyms reopen

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – While traditional gyms reopen today, fitness studios that offer group workout classes are feeling left out. There are confusion and frustration over the way the public health order is written.

The order allows all gyms to open, but it bans group workout classes. For most yoga, spin or barre fitness studios, that is their entire business and, they say, they have no choice but to stay closed.

“We’re a ma and pa, locally-owned studio that do not have deep pockets backed by what maybe large gyms have with a corporate office. So, this is crushing for us,” said David Johnson, Co-Owner of SWEAT Yoga Studio. “For us not to be able to operate, just brings us to our knees.”

Johnson said the studio was ready to reopen this week with classes that would have been a third of the size that they used to be in order to keep everyone six feet apart. He said he can operate the studio safely, and he has reached out to the governor’s office about it.

Online, roughly 800 people signed a petition on change.org, also calling on the governor to allow fitness studios to hold group classes with limited capacity and social distancing. The petitions state that there is no conclusive medical evidence to show a yoga, spin, or barre class is more dangerous than a traditional open gym, where people are actually sharing equipment.

“We’re not one of the big-box gyms,” Kelly Carpenter, pilates instructor at Blissful Spirits Hot Yoga near Paseo and I-25, said. “Not only do we compete with them when we’re all open, but now they get to open first and we can lose clients that way. People are ready to get out and ready to be safe about it.”

The governor’s office said that they understand the frustrations, but group classes involve a gathering of people in an enclosed space, which is not safe right now. The health order does allow for personal training for up to two people, but local fitness studios said it would not make economic sense to open to offer classes that small.

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