Washington, DC

Ed. Note: This demand follows multiple complaints discussed here.

From the DC Attorney General’s Office:

“Attorney General Karl A. Racine, New York AG Tish James, and Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro today demanded Town Sports International, LLC (TSI) stop charging membership dues to gym members during the COVID-19 public health emergency. In the District, TSI’s Washington Sports Club (WSC) facilities are closed as part of the District’s emergency response to the pandemic. While many fitness clubs have provided automatic membership freezes at no cost, TSI has continued to charge District customers for memberships they cannot use. Read More

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Ted Eytan

I thought we’d concluded our gym talk but after yesterday’s Washington Sports Club talk folks want to talk about Vida too. So here we are – thanks to Paul for sending the latest from Vida:

“To our VIDA Fitness Members,

Every day we are experiencing an unprecedented volume of twists & turns as our nation comes to grasp with the coronavirus pandemic. It’s vital that I continue to keep you abreast of what we are doing and provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information.

In my original letter dated March 15th, I wrote to inform you that we voluntarily closed all VIDA locations from March 16th to March 31st. A few days after we voluntarily closed, Mayor Bowser mandated that all health clubs must remain closed through April 24th. Yesterday, the Mayor issued a Stay At Home Order. We are also dialed-in to the many briefings from Governor Northam and Governor Hogan. We expect things will continue to progress and find it unlikely that we’ll receive approval to reopen our doors before the end of May. Read More

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Photo by Andrea

Ed. Note: We had a lengthy discussion about gyms on Thursday but I continue to get a ton of messages asking specifically about WSC so I’ll dedicate this post to talk about your experiences with them.

“Dear PoPville,

Has anyone figured out what’s going on with Washington Sports Clubs? Are they continuing to charge membership dues despite being closed?

I reached out to them on 3/21 to cancel my month-to-month membership because I was moving out of DC. No answer. Followed up a few days later; no answer (they have not been answering their phones either). I take to social media and find the below email address, which just sent this auto-reply and directs you to this BS letter about how they are basically unreachable and will deal with “credits” after they are back up and operational. This is absurd! Would love to know if you’ve gotten any intel from other readers.”

Noodle writes: “Washington Sports Clubs seems to have tacitly refused to suspend membership charges during closure. This auto message (above) seems to indicate they intend to continue charging & will count the undue charges as future credits after they reopen.”

Mike writes: “This is now the second email in the past couple of days that I’ve received from Washington Sports Clubs parent company (Town Sports International) which, after not receiving any correspondence from them from the beginning of the pandemic until now, states that they will continue collecting membership dues from all members throughout the crisis. This is, of course, problematic on multiple fronts, not the least of which is that I suspect they know this behavior is unseemly (at best) due to the defensive posture of the email below. Read More

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Let’s Talk Gyms


Photo by PoPville flickr user Ted Eytan

I’ve been getting tons of messages about folks concerned about what’s happening with their gyms. So let me just dedicate this post to it. Since gyms have now been ordered closed – what is your gym doing regarding your memberships?

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Thanks to Natalie for sending: “In the vein of creative entrepreneurial responses to COVID19 disruptions to local businesses”

From Cycled:

“We are excited to announce the CYCLED! Home Bike Rental Program! We have heard the community loud and clear, and we are thrilled to offer a weekly rental program to help you continue to enjoy the classes you know and love ♥︎ We have 45 bikes available for weekly rentals at the rate of $39 per 7 days. Checkout the details below, including the specifications of the bike, to determine if this is a good fit for you. Read More

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A lot of folks have been asking me about the status of gyms since we learned restaurants and bars would close (with many transitioning to pick up/take out only.) ABRA sends some more guidance:

“Effective immediately, per Mayor’s Order 2020-048: Prohibition on Mass Gatherings During Public Health Emergency Coronavirus (COVID-19), all “mass gatherings” in DC are prohibited.

A mass gathering is considered any event or convening bringing together 50 or more persons at the same time in a single room or other single confined or enclosed space.

Accordingly, restaurants and taverns must cease table seating effective tonight, Monday, March 16, 2020 at 10:00 p.m. until Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 6:00 a.m. These establishments may only provide delivery and grab-and-go operations during this period.

Additionally, all venues doing business as nightclubs, multipurpose facilities, health clubs, health spas, massage establishments, and theaters must also suspend operations. Read More

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“Dear PoPville,

I know a lot of readers go to WSC. I haven’t heard any communication from them about cleaning/shutting down/pausing memberships, etc. What gives?

Seems like almost every other gym/work out studio has paused things and/or offered online programming.”

From a Urban Adventures Companies press release:

“Update on VIDA Fitness, SweatBox, Bang Salon, Aura spa

The Urban Adventures Companies will be closed March 16th until March 31st in order to help our employees, members, and clients stay healthy and safe.

We have been closely tracking the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in hopes that we could remain open to our members and clients during this uncertain time. All of us at Urban Adventures come to work every day deeply committed to the health and wellbeing of our stakeholders. This town is our home, and you are our family. It is for these reasons that we have made the very difficult decision to close all of our businesses effective March 16th through March 31st. Read More

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2500 Georgia Avenue, NW

“Dear PoPville,

I would love to pose a question to the community in light of the discussion around the new ByndFit gym:

Maybe we can just crowdsource it from comments, but I will also just ask directly in case anyone has something like this just lying around: Does anyone have a spreadsheet or list of all of the pools suitable for lap swimming in the District, their hours, and the cost to use? I know that there are some DPR options, but I was hoping to unearth any hidden gems, e.g., the Fairmont Hotel pool in the West End (you can purchase a membership to swim there, but I don’t know the price). And I am talking about pools for lap swimming, specifically). Just want to see what we can put together. And yes, I sorely miss the YMCA on Rhode Island and 17th, with the huge pool open from 5AM to 11PM. Thank you all”

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