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“Settlement Resolves OAG Suit Alleging Shaw Gym Ignored Legal Requirements for Mask Use, Social Distancing, and Sanitization”


Photo by Diane Krauthamer

From the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia:

“Attorney General Karl A. Racine today announced that Urban Athletic Club, a District gym chain, will be required to pay a penalty of $10,000 to resolve allegations it had misled consumers and failed to comply with emergency COVID-19 health and safety requirements. In a December 2020 lawsuit, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) alleged that Urban Athletic Club violated the District’s COVID-19 public health emergency orders and consumer protection laws by allowing customers to exercise at its Shaw location without masks, adequate distancing, or proper equipment sanitization. After OAG filed suit, the company entered into an interim agreement requiring it to begin enforcing the COVID-19 orders at its clubs. As part of the settlement, Urban Athletic Club must pay $10,000 to the District and continue complying with COVID-19 safety requirements and District law over the next year.

“The District adopted COVID-19 health and safety requirements to stop the spread of this dangerous virus, and businesses have a legal responsibility to do their part to keep workers and consumers safe,” said AG Racine. “While Urban Athletic Club began complying with health and safety guidelines shortly after we filed suit in December, this settlement holds the company accountable for its previous failures and sends the message that any business that refuses to take legally required steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19–like requiring masks and social distancing–will be held accountable.”

Urban Athletic Club operates gyms in Adams Morgan and Glover Park housed within the Line Hotel and Kimpton Glover Park Hotel, respectively, along with a location at 804 N Street, NW, in Shaw. OAG filed suit against the company in December 2020 for violating the District law and COVID-19 orders over several weeks at its gym in Shaw. The lawsuit alleged that on six separate occasions, an OAG investigator observed multiple gymgoers at the company’s Shaw location exercising indoors without masks and workers failing to enforce mask requirements and sanitize equipment between uses, among other violations.

Shortly after OAG filed suit, Urban Athletic Club entered into conversations with OAG and agreed to begin enforcing the COVID-19 orders at its gyms while the case proceeded. Under this settlement, which fully resolves the case, Urban Athletic Club will be required to:

  • Pay a $10,000 penalty to the District: Urban Athletic Club will be required to pay $5,000 to the District within one week of the settlement and another $5,000 within six months.
  • Comply with all COVID-19 safety measures or pay an additional $10,000 penalty: The company must comply with  COVID-19 safety measures required by District law and public health guidance. Among other terms, Urban Athletic Club must require everyone inside the gym to wear a mask, require those who are within six feet of each other outdoors during gym activities to wear a mask, and provide masks to all employees. The company must also continue to suspend indoor group exercise classes and outdoor exercise classes of more than 25 people while the current COVID-19 Order is in effect and comply with all future orders and legislation affecting gyms and workout studios. If Urban Athletic Club fails to uphold its obligations, it will be required to pay an additional $10,000 penalty.

A copy of the consent judgment is available at: https://oag.dc.gov/sites/default/files/2021-02/UACConsentJudgmentOrder.pdf

How to Report Unfair Business Practices
To report scams, fraud, or unfair business practices, contact OAG’s Office of Consumer Protection by:

Consumer Alert: Protect yourself from scams, price gouging, discrimination, and get information about your rights during the pandemic by reading OAG’s Consumer Alert (available in Spanish, Amharic, Chinese, French, Korean, and Vietnamese).”

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