Washington, DC


Photo by PoPville flickr user Ted Eytan

Ed. Note: We recently spoke about the YMCA Gym opening preparations here.

“Dear PoPville,

I wanted to forward along this email I received today (Monday) from Vida Fitness. They’ve been providing weekly updates during covid-19 on how the gym is responding and the reopening plan. Today, they sent an email pushing members to email the Mayor to encourage gyms to be the first businesses to reopen in DC as soon as they can. They even provided a SCRIPT for what you should say?!?!?!?

I’ve been a member of Vida for years, and I would hate to see it go under now, but asking members to write to our mayor and emphasize the importance of gym reopening was tone-deaf, embarrassing, irresponsible, and extremely disappointing. They even have the nerve to say that gyms provide a unique ability for contact tracing in the city. Contact tracing is the last thing we have to worry about. No contact is what we should be emphasizing.

The last thing that ANYONE should be worrying about and fighting for, IS GYMS REOPENING. We should be writing to our mayor about more readily available testing, about more accessible healthcare in the city (have you seen the breakdown of cases and death by ward? income inequality is clearly having a deathly effect), about issuing fines and breaking up large social gatherings in Logan Circle, the Yards, and about policy that can aid in social distancing.

Here is the email content, sent from Vida:

To our VIDA Fitness Members,

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, my goal has been to give you the most accurate information possible on how VIDA has been affected by this crisis, how you can help us support our employees, and what we are doing to create a safe environment for you when we re-open.

What you don’t know is that we have been collaborating with health officials and fitness facility operators from around the globe on best practices for re-opening the fitness industry in a Covid-19 world. I have been working non-stop with these various entities to develop systems and protocols that will allow us to open in a way that protects our members and employees. We invite you to review our plan here: Reopening Recommendations.

This is not just our plan, it’s your plan too. Please send your thoughts and comments to [email protected] so we can incorporate your input into the plan.
Most importantly, we need you to give this plan a voice. The plan is detailed, it is based on the best available science, and it will work. I am asking you to contact the Mayor’s office. Today.
Phone Number: (202) 727-2643
Email Address: [email protected]

We are formally requesting that the District include the fitness industry in Phase 1 of the reopening process, currently set to begin on Tuesday, June 9th.

Consider saying this:
Fitness centers like VIDA should be among the first businesses to reopen in Phase One. Gyms provide a place for people to focus on strengthening their immune systems, which is one of the best ways to fight Covid-19.

Gyms have a unique ability to assist in contact tracing and reducing community spread because gyms know precisely who has been in their facilities, the corresponding timeline, and how to promptly contact those individuals. They can enforce social distancing while assisting the city in contact tracing in a way no other industry can.

The decision about which industries can re-open and when should be based on how those industries can have a positive impact on community spread, not public perception of their risk. Fitness centers like VIDA can provide a public service to both DC residents and the governmental entities that have the responsibility to contain the virus.

What we are recommending is cautious and prudent. We are all in this together, and we want to welcome you back on Tuesday, June 9th. With your help, we can do exactly that.

David von Storch
President & Founder
Urban Adventures Companies”

Other emails I received from readers:

“Uhhh – this email from VIDA seems to have some questionable science.

Fitness centers like VIDA should be among the first businesses to reopen in Phase One. Gyms provide a place for people to focus on strengthening their immune systems, which is one of the best ways to fight Covid-19.

Gyms have a unique ability to assist in contact tracing and reducing community spread because gyms know precisely who has been in their facilities, the corresponding timeline, and how to promptly contact those individuals. They can enforce social distancing while assisting the city in contact tracing in a way no other industry can.

The decision about which industries can re-open and when should be based on how those industries can have a positive impact on community spread, not public perception of their risk. Fitness centers like VIDA can provide a public service to both DC residents and the governmental entities that have the responsibility to contain the virus.

I get it – businesses are hurting. I’m sympathetic. I’ve stayed with them and I haven’t canceled my membership. But wtf is this? Don’t push bs science.”

and

“VIDA is asking its members to phonebank the Mayor to ask her to include gyms in the Phase 1 reopening plan that could come as early as next month.

They even provide a sample script and the number.

Not sure I ever thought that my gym would be trying to get me to join a political effort.”

and

“I just received the below email from VIDA Fitness encouraging their members to write to Bowser’s office in support of fitness centers’ inclusion in Phase 1 of reopening. I wonder what everyone’s thoughts are…”

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