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Natural Awakenings New York City

Indefinite Restrictions on Long Island Gyms Cause Local Pushback

Some fitness studio owners in Suffolk County are pushing back against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s late-June announcement that gyms may not be able to open until there is a vaccine for COVID-19. Charlie Cassarra, owner of SC Fitness in Farmingdale and Hicksville, created a Facebook group called Fitness Industry Vs. NY Class Action Lawsuit and has retained a lawyer to represent the group, which reached more than 3,600 members in 36 hours.

“Cuomo’s new mandate doesn’t make sense at all,” says member Shannon Williams, co-owner of Long Beach studio Core 95, which specializes in hot Pilates, barre, and high-intensity interval training. “If a restaurant can control their atmosphere, so can a gym. If the guidelines say no heavy breathing, we can work with that. We can put on shields, or we can do calisthenics where we use light weights or bodyweight and create muscle fatigue without forcing a heavy-breathing atmosphere. If that is the issue.” A major complaint of the group is that there has been a lack of communication and transparency about the mandate and the reasons behind the hit. 

Collette Morales, the co-founder of NY Fit Fest, which brings together gym owners from across Long Island and New York City for a major group fitness event each year, says group fitness has saved lives, including hers. “I don’t know where I’d be without It,” she says. 

To join the class-action suit, email [email protected] with name, business name, employee ID number, address, county, and website, or join the Facebook group Fitness Industry Vs. NY Class Action Lawsuit.