UPDATE: Spin studio in Canada has 72-person coronavirus outbreak despite safety measures
By Weston Blasi
Gyms and fitness centers have been deemed 'higher-risk' areas for virus transmission by Dr. Anthony Fauci
A cycling studio called SpinCo is the latest source of a coronavirus outbreak after at least 72 people linked to a single location in Ontario, Canada, tested positive for the virus.
The SpinCo outbreak (https://www.today.com/health/gyms-covid-19-outbreak-spin-studio-canada-t194775), which affected both patrons and staff, occurred despite the fact the studio was following various safety protocols.
The studio was at less than 50% capacity, bikes were placed more than 6 feet apart, rooms were cleaned after classes, and masks were worn before and after workouts.
"We are very concerned with the number of positive cases, the size of this outbreak and the impact that it has had on our community," local medical officer Dr. Elizabeth Richardson (https://people.com/health/at-least-69-covid-19-cases-linked-to-outbreak-at-canadian-cycle-studio/) said in the statement.
That SpinCo location has been temporarily closed, the company announced.
Since coronavirus-related restrictions have been eased by some states in the U.S., similar outbreaks at fitness centers have begun popping up.
In Elmhurst, Ill., an 18-person coronavirus outbreak forced an Orangetheory Fitness center to briefly close, forcing Orangetheory (https://patch.com/illinois/elmhurst/elmhurst-gym-suffers-coronavirus-outbreak) to update its safety and cleaning measures.
A San Diego workout center called "The Gym (https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/31/us/coronavirus-outbreak-san-diego-gym/index.html)" was also linked to a series of positive coronavirus cases, according to CNN.
Fitness centers have been deemed "higher-risk (https://sports.yahoo.com/dr-fauci-says-3-riskiest-205900256.html)" areas for virus transmission by Dr. Anthony Fauci, and many have been forced to operate at lower capacities during the pandemic, with some closing their doors completely.
Several fitness brands have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in wake of the pandemic including Gold's Gym, Town Sports International and 24 Hour Fitness. The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) claims at least a quarter of fitness centers in the U.S. could close by the end of the year if current restrictions continue.
These closures have disproportionately hurt small businesses.
More than 80% of the approximately 50,000 health and fitness clubs in the U.S. are small businesses, according to IHRSA. In 2019, the fitness industry employed 3 million trainers, instructors and other workers, according to the Associated Press (https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-health-archive-2317bd420af4445b1c9a06384cdf27e5).
In recent days, France and the United Kingdom have implemented stricter restrictions to combat the spread of the coronavirus, and if the U.S. embraces similar tactics as colder weather may soon force more people indoors, gyms could continue to suffer.
-Weston Blasi; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 18, 2020 15:01 ET (19:01 GMT)
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