NEW YORK — In a time where local businesses have felt incredible pressure in order to survive amid a global pandemic and government restrictions to stop its spread, it’s now boutique gyms that will fight for the right to reopen.
Elsewhere in the state you can go back to indoor fitness classes, but not in New York City.
“There’s no science or no data to support Mayor de Blasio’s continued shuttering of these businesses,” said attorney James Mermigis.
On Long Island, boutique gyms — where customers are able to take specialty fitness classes — have already reopened under strict guidelines. But in the city, those gym owners are still unable to open, and now, they’re filing a lawsuit.
In Nassau County, which borders Queens, gym owner Charlie Cassara has reopened SC Fitness.
“We’re safe. The state says we’re safe. The CDC says we’re safe. Experts say we’re safe. Forty-seven other states can open, but yet indoor fitness classes are the one that they can be shut. Why?” he said.
Cassara is the president of the New York Fitness Coalition, which is spearheading the lawsuit.
Amanda Freeman is the owner of SLT, a chain of studios that offer high intensity workouts. She’s the president of the Boutique Fitness Alliance, also part of the lawsuit.
“They can drive to Nassau County, Suffolk County, Westchester County to get their workout in,” Freeman said.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has already given the green light for gyms to reopen, but left it up to localities to make their own decision about indoor fitness classes.
De Blasio has yet to give these smaller studios a chance to open. So studio owners say, show us the science.
“It just doesn’t make any sense,” Freeman said. “We actually see some of our clients driving to New Jersey, to Hoboken or to Greenwich, Connecticut to get their workouts.”
And because of the closures, Cassara said many of studios will have to close.
“These businesses just aren’t gonna make it,” he said. “Sixty percent of us won’t make it through the winter”
Mermigis, who also filed suit over indoor dining and the re-opening of gyms overall, said it just makes no sense…
“If you’re in the Bronx, you go to Yonkers. If you’re in Queens ,you go to great neck,” he said. “The mayor is being arbitrary.”
We reached out to the mayor’s office; they told us they can’t comment on pending litigation.