BOSTON (WHDH) - It’s all pain no gain right now for fitness studios in Boston, who say the COVID-19 surge and citywide restrictions are causing a serious dip in business.
Cycling studio Handlebar is one of a number of gyms petitioning the city to allow them to waive mask mandates if members prove they’re vaccinated.
“We were really hoping that in September, as people start getting back to their routines, we would start seeing an uptick. And instead what happened is in September, we got a mask mandate and our attendance dropped even more,” said founder and general manager Jessica Fracalossi.
She says customers are having a tough time doing cardio with the masks and, unlike at the beginning of the pandemic, their business isn’t getting support.
“I believe that we’re in the most challenging part right now because there’s no PPP available for us, at least right now, and our landlords are losing patience,” Fracalossi said.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Boston Mayor Kim Janey said: “Boston’s indoor mask mandate helps slow the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant among vaccinated people, as well as unvaccinated people. Mayor Janey will continue to follow public health data, support local businesses, and ask everyone to do their part in Boston’s recovery, reopening, and renewal from the ongoing pandemic.”
Gym owners say they can easily prove vaccine status.
“98.5 percent of our community is vaccinated,” Fracalossi said. “We can alert them with popup notifications on their phone before their next booking to upload proof of vaccination. It’s one and done.”
However, if the universal mask mandate stays and there is no more support, she says it will make for some very tough times ahead.
“As a business owner it’s like, where is the finish line here?” she said. “There doesn’t seem to be any relief on the horizon.”
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