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Spokane gym changes course, cancels classes this week amid coronavirus restrictions

The owner of CycleBar on the South Hill previously said the doors of her business will remain open despite restrictions banning indoor workout classes in Washington.

SPOKANE, Wash. — A gym in Spokane has changed course and decided to cancel classes this week as new coronavirus restrictions banning indoor fitness classes take effect in Washington.

The owner of CycleBar on the South Hill previously said in an email and a video on Facebook that she didn't plan to close her gym despite the restrictions.

But in an email sent out Monday, owner Jennylee Thompson said she will be canceling classes this week, due to a fear that the publicity surrounding her initial announcement would cause her to be shut down and possibly lose her business license.

"So, with a heavy heart, I have decided to cancel rides this week. I’m hoping some of these mandates will be lifted and we’ll be able to host some form of classes soon before this 4-week nonsense is over," Thompson said in an email Monday.

The restrictions also closed indoor dining and indoor social gatherings until December 14. Outdoor gatherings are limited to five people and indoor retail is limited to 25% capacity, including grocery stores. 

"Our plan is not the same plan as what the governor just said," Thompson said in the initial video. "We have a plan and it involves not canceling a damn thing." 

Thompson also sent out an email to members that reads, "We're not changing anything. Our doors will remain open," before the recent email on Monday.

Lilac Lanes and Casino in North Spokane previously expressed a similar sentiment in a Facebook post, writing, "We are aware of the Governors [sic] recent mandate. We will operate as normal until further notice." 

However, Lilac Lanes later announced that the bowling center would close at 11:30 p.m. on Monday and would reopen "once the lockdown is lifted."

According to Lilac Lanes' post on Facebook, the casino will remain open and operating normal hours and the pro shop will remain open weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m.

CycleBar offers pop-up classes at a studio on the South Hill. Thompson said the studio's official opening has been delayed due to construction and COVID-19. 

"Many people signed up for a Membership back in June, so they've been waiting months for us to open. We don't take that for granted," Thompson said. 

Thompson previously encouraged those who don't feel comfortable attending the pop-ups to stay home. 

"With that said, if you do not feel comfortable coming into pop-up rides, then don't. No questions, no judgment. You have to do what's right for you, and we'll never hold that against you," Thompson wrote. "CycleBar has always been a place for you to be your authentic self, and to show up just as you are. We never want to take that comfort away from you. So you do you, Boos!"

The Washington Fitness Alliance sent a letter to Governor Jay Inslee asking that fitness studios be allowed to reopen. The WFA claims research shows gyms are not community spreader locations: 

The Washington Fitness Alliance (WFA) is surprised and dismayed by today’s decision to order the closure of indoor gyms and fitness facilities until December 14. The month-long closure will lead to the permanent closure of many small businesses across the state who are barely making ends meet under the current restrictions. We are deeply troubled by the rejection of ideas submitted by WFA to improve upon current guidelines.  

It makes no sense to penalize a sector that, according to data and studies, has not been a source of  COVID-19 infections and has proven it can safely provide a valuable service to the public during the pandemic.  

The private and non-profit facilities closed by today’s announcement provide a safe venue for people across the state, across all demographics and income levels, and in every walk of life to improve their physical and emotional well-being. They provide physical therapy services tailored for individuals and deliver injury rehabilitation and recovery programs that all of us need at some point in our lives.  

Research has demonstrated that our physical wellbeing directly correlates to our emotional well-being,  particularly during times of stress. This is especially important as we navigate the stresses with COVID 19 quarantines, school closures, the aftermath of wildfires and uncertain economic times.