Indoor Workout Classes Are Now Banned in DC. How Are Fitness Studios Dealing?

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When Mayor Muriel Bowser announced on November 23 that she would enact new restrictions that cancelled—among other things—indoor fitness classes, DC studio owners were taken aback and confused.

“It came out of nowhere,” says Maddie Watkins, who owns the downtown DC strength studio 202 Strong. As Covid cases rose in the region, Watkins had a suspicion that some restrictions were inevitable. She just didn’t think they’d target her business so specifically.

While studios are no longer allowed to host indoor classes, traditional gyms can still operate. And, perhaps most vexing to studio owners, indoor dining is allowed to continue, albeit at a lower capacity.

“I don’t understand the logic,” says Watkins. “I know that the mayor is trying to do what’s best for the city, but to me, the science and the facts didn’t match up.”

Watkins argues that working out in an indoor studio is safer than dining inside, as her clients are masked the entire time and confined to specific zones. At 202Strong, no equipment is shared, she says, and everything is thoroughly cleaned between sessions. And, for what it’s worth, Watkins says she hasn’t had any known Covid cases pop up at her studios.

Neither has Elevate Interval Fitness owner David Magida, which makes him equally frustrated by the new restrictions.

“I understand what the city was attempting to do. They were attempting to deal with bad optics and an assumed source of spread,” he says. “But the only thing they accomplished was effectively hurting small fitness studios without actually increasing safety.”

In an open gym format, it’s harder to control where folks go, how they sanitize their equipment, and to ensure they’re always wearing masks, says Magida. But because it’s the only viable way for fitness spots to operate right now, Magida has transformed his 14th Street studio into an open gym-style space, allowing clients to use the equipment in shifts. Watkins has done the same.

Meanwhile, other studios like Logan Circle’s Cut Seven or Park View’s Sweat DC are surviving by hosting outdoor classes, which are now capped at 25 people. And then there are those who flouted the rules: Solidcore owner Anne Mahlum publicly denounced the Mayor’s new restrictions last week, and continued to operate classes at her DC studios. After a visit from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Solidcore announced Monday that it would temporarily close its DC locations.

No matter the studio’s response, the verdict is the same: These restrictions will hurt the small, locally owned businesses. “We will take a hit financially,” Watkins says. And this is on top of the impact the pandemic has already had on her downtown DC location, which used to be frequented by office-goers.

Magida agrees. Just over a week into the new restrictions, Elevate has already seen an “exodus” of clients, he says, which is especially troubling when folks should be prioritizing their health.

“If anything is an essential business [during a pandemic], it’s fitness. It’s keeping people healthy, and their immune

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Nike SuperRep Cycle Indoor Cycling Shoe

We know just how important having the proper pair of training shoes is, no matter the modality, and when it comes to indoor cycling, we are loving the Nike SuperRep Cycle shoe ($120). (They’re selling out fast, and you can also find them at Nordstrom). There’s nothing wrong with renting shoes from a cycling studio, but you can’t go wrong with upgrading from the slightly sweaty and very stinky shoes that can be used both at home and in studio.

The SuperRep Cycle shoe is “sleek” and “ultra-breathable,” and we have a feeling indoor-cycling enthusiasts are going to love it. The mesh upper keeps the feet cool during intense rides, the two adjustable straps keep the feet feeling snug and supported throughout all movements, and the rubber studs near the toes prevent slipping while walking in the shoes.

There are a lot of great gift options for fitness-lovers, and in our opinion, these cycling shoes are high up on the list.

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Coronavirus crowd study: German researchers find ‘glimmers of hope’ after inviting thousands to indoor concert in Leipzig

In one scenario modeled by the scientists, the infection risk for participants and their contacts was around 70 times lower when health and safety instructions were followed, compared with what it could have been under pre-pandemic behavior.

“A concert or handball game with a strictly enforced safety protocol is safer than the participation in a big wedding,” said Michael Gekle, the dean of the medical department at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, who was involved in the research.

The scientists’ conclusions are based on an experiment that drew around 1,400 people to an indoor concert simulation in August, hosted in one of the country’s largest venues in the eastern German city of Leipzig.

The researchers from the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, a public institution, used tracking devices to gather data on the movements and behavior of participants, all of whom had to test negative for the virus to be allowed to participate. Over the following two months, the data gathered during the day-long experiment in August was fed into a computer simulation to estimate the hypothetical spread of the coronavirus for varying safety protocols and infection rates.

Finding a balance between economic incentives to fill a venue as much as possible and safety constraints to limit the risks was the main goal of the experiment that looked at three scenarios.

In the first, participants — while still wearing masks — pretended that the pandemic did not exist, allowing the researchers to create a detailed computer simulation of a concert with no social distancing and with an auditorium at full capacity.

In the second scenario, organizers imposed light social distancing rules and reduced the number of participants. This scenario, the researchers said Thursday, would provide sufficient safety to hold indoor events up to an infection rate of 50 new cases per 100,000 people within a week. Germany deems regions that cross this threshold as risk areas.

Events could still be held with infection levels above that rate, the researchers found, but only if organizers were to follow stringent distancing, as modeled in a third scenario.

In all three scenarios, participants had assigned seats.

The researchers cautioned that participants’ safety largely depends on face masks and on indoor ventilation systems, which were both found to play a critical role in preventing infections.

Germany already approved a $580 million program last month to improve ventilation systems in museums, theaters and other spaces. As long as no effective vaccine has been widely distributed more funding for ventilation will be needed, said Stefan Moritz, who headed the experiment. “This pandemic won’t be over in a few months,” he said.

In the lead-up to the concert, the prospect of the experiment sparked hate mail and accusations that it would become a superspreader event, but the researchers said Thursday that the concert had resulted in no known infections.

The release of their findings Thursday came at a pivotal time in Germany, and one day after Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a month-long partial national lockdown this

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Pritzker Defends Coronavirus Data Used To Ban Indoor Dining

CHICAGO — Gov. J.B. Pritzker defended the metrics used to guide his regional COVID-19 resurgence mitigation plan, which have triggered restrictions on indoor service at restaurants and bars across most of the state.

Coronavirus positivity rates in all but one region of Illinois are above the 8 percent fail-safe threshold that leads to increased restrictions under the governor’s Restore Illinois plan and executive orders.

“Let’s be clear,” Pritzker said. “Well-meaning and reasonable people can have fair disagreements about how and where to draw lines and connect dots, but when every single metric in every single corner of our state is trending poorly, we have to take meaningful action to keep our people safe”

In addition to a positivity rate that has risen by 3.4 percentage points since Oct. 1, the number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 rose by 73 percent, while the number of coronavirus patients in the state’s intensive care units is up by 61 percent this month, according to Illinois Department of Public Health data Pritzker shared at a briefing Thursday in Chicago.

Of the two regions where restrictions have yet to be imposed: Region 6, the Champaign EMS region, is on track to see restrictions announced Friday, having already averaged two days above the 8 percent mark. And Region 2, the Peoria EMS region, saw its positivity rate rise to 7.9 percent on the most recent day for which data was available.

The restrictions can also be triggered by a period of seven out of 10 days with both increasing positivity rates and an increasing rounded rolling average number of new daily hospitalizations of people with coronavirus symptoms. That led to the first tier of mitigations in suburban Cook County and Chicago before the regions also triggered restrictions by spending three days above the 8-percent mark.

“Bars and restaurants are spreading locations,” Pritzker said. “We need to clamp down because we need to bring the numbers down. They’re headed in the wrong direction, and unfortunately bars and restaurants are the location — no fault of the people who own them or operate them or even people who visit them — but it is true that those are places where there is a higher transmission likelihood than other locations.”

Tiered mitigations restricting indoor dining and limiting the size of gatherings have been imposed on nine of the state’s 11 regions. Region 3, the Springfield emergency medical services region, Thursday became the latest to trigger the additional measures. One region — Region 1 in Northwest Illinois — has advanced to the second tier of mitigations. “Tier 2” includes a 10-person gathering size limit and a six-person limit at outdoor tables.

Pritzker was asked whether the first two tiers of limitations that be enough to curb the spread.

“I don’t know. I really would like to know the answer to that. This virus is unknowable, seemingly,” he said. “We didn’t know when we put the stay-at-home order back in March, we didn’t know if that was enough. We

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Masks Good, Ventilation Better at Cutting COVID Risk at Indoor Events: Study | Top News

BERLIN (Reuters) – Face masks and limits on numbers are important, but good ventilation technology is the most essential ingredient of all in reducing the risk of the coronavirus spreading at public events indoors, according to a German study.

And researchers say the study’s results have implications for containing the epidemic among the broader population too.

Around 1,500 volunteers with face masks, hand sanitiser and proximity trackers attended an indoor pop-concert in Leipzig in August to assess how the virus spreads in large gatherings.

Reseachers simulated three scenarios with varying numbers of spectators and social-distancing standards, and created a computer model of the arena to analyse the flow of aerosols from infected virtual spectators.

“The most important finding for us was understanding how crucial it is to have good ventilation technology. This is key to lowering the risk of infection,” said Stefan Moritz, leader of the RESTART-19 study at the University Medical School in Halle.

The study also found that reducing venue capacity, having multiple arena entrances and seating spectators can have a major impact on the number of contacts people accumulate.

Its recommendations include only allowing food to be eaten at seats, open-air waiting areas, mask-wearing for the concert’s duration and employing stewards to make sure people stick to hygiene rules.

Researchers also developed an epidemiological model to analyse the impact of staging an event on the spread of the virus among the broader population.

They found hygiene measures such as mask-wearing and social-distancing should remain in place as long as the pandemic persists, while seating plans and number of guests should be adjusted based on the incidence of the virus.

“Events have the potential to fuel the epidemic by spreading pathogens, but if a hygiene concept is stuck to then the risk is very low,” said Rafael Mikolajczyk, from Halle University’s Institute for Medical Epidemiology.

The study’s results have not yet been peer-reviewed.

(Reporting by Caroline Copley; editing by John Stonestreet)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Some restaurants in Illinois are defying closure orders as ban on indoor service spreads to Chicago suburbs

Despite Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s recent order to shut down indoor service at bars and restaurants in northwest Illinois due to the coronavirus, Fozzy’s Bar and Grill near Rockford was among those that stayed open.



Nick Fosberg standing in front of a computer: Nick Fosberg, owner of Fozzy's Bar & Grill, speaks with customers on Oct. 20, 2020, in Loves Park, near Rockford. "We're sticking to what we were doing and being safe about it," he said. "We're getting a ton of support. I'm not closing."


© Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Nick Fosberg, owner of Fozzy’s Bar & Grill, speaks with customers on Oct. 20, 2020, in Loves Park, near Rockford. “We’re sticking to what we were doing and being safe about it,” he said. “We’re getting a ton of support. I’m not closing.”

Owner Nick Fosberg said he had to leave the doors open to keep his employees working, pay his bills and stay in business. He says the workers wear masks, and customers wear masks on their way in and out, while tables are spaced 6 feet apart, at 25% capacity.

“We’re sticking to what we were doing and being safe about it,” he said. “We’re getting a ton of support. People are happy someone finally stood up and said, ‘I’m not closing.’”

The Oct. 3 closure order covering the northwest region of Illinois has the same restrictions coming Friday to DuPage, Kane, Kankakee and Will counties. Four regions of the state have exceeded 8% rate for positive COVID tests, which is one of the state-imposed thresholds for such restrictions, and the rest are trending in that direction.



a car parked in front of a building: Two women enter Fozzy's Bar & Grill in Loves Park near Rockford.


© Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Two women enter Fozzy’s Bar & Grill in Loves Park near Rockford.

Now other restaurant owners are declaring they, too, will stay open. The Facebook page of Lockport Stagecoach in Will County, a western-style saloon, states that it will remain open for indoor dining and stand by more than 30 employees who depend on the restaurant for their livelihoods.

“We are NOT trying to be rebellious or are anti-masks, anti-people’s health or any of the other nonsense,” the post stated. “This is a decision out of survival.”

Ki’s Steak and Seafood in west suburban Glendale Heights also declared its independence from “DICTATOR PRITZKER.”

“We are standing up for our freedom and WE WILL STAY OPEN!” Ki’s Facebook page announced. “We have been in business for 80+ years and no one is going to tell us we can’t live out the American dream.”

In Winnebago County, where Rockford is located, the closure orders are prompting a showdown between local businesses and health officials. The local health department issued closure orders to Fozzy’s and to two other bar/restaurants in Loves Park, and issued more than 30 other orders warning businesses they weren’t following the coronavirus regulations.



a person sitting in a chair in a room: Jim McQuinn and his dog, Bella, hang out in the bar at Fozzy's Bar & Grill on Oct. 20, 2020 near Rockford. "I'm glad to be out socializing. It's my first time in a bar since January," McQuinn said.


© Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Jim McQuinn and his dog, Bella, hang out in the bar at Fozzy’s Bar & Grill on Oct. 20, 2020 near Rockford. “I’m glad to be out socializing. It’s my first time in a bar since January,” McQuinn said.

While no one source drove the recent rise in positivity rate in the region, county Public Health Administrator Sandra Martell said, bars and restaurants were “disproportionately impacted.”

“It is extremely frustrating that

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Governor bans indoor dining in Chicago as virus cases surge

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Surging COVID-19 cases in Chicago prompted Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday to ban indoor dining and bar services and limit the number of people gathering in one place.

The rules taking effect Friday will force diners and bar patrons outdoors and shut down service at 11 p.m. No more than 25 people may gather at one time, or fewer if that number would exceed 25% of room capacity.

“We can’t ignore what is happening around us, because without action, this could look worse than anything we saw in the spring,” Pritzker said, referring to the start of the pandemic, when health care resources were pushed to the limit because of the overwhelming number of COVID-19 cases.


Chicago, which comprises Region 11 of the state’s 11 COVID-19 monitoring regions, joins six other regions subject to what the Pritzker administration calls “resurgence mitigations.” A day earlier, Pritzker imposed the restrictions on Region 10, Cook County outside of Chicago and Lake County to the north.

After a summer of declining case numbers — Illinois fared better than many other states, particularly in the South and West — they began climbing again in August and jumped precipitously this month. There were 4,000 new infections and 46 additional deaths Tuesday, bringing total cases to 382,985 with 9,568 deaths.

There were 2,758 hospitalized, an 86% increase from a month ago, and both intensive care patients at 595 and the 241 on ventilators represented increases in the 70% range.

Other regions which hit the mitigation bar did so when positive rates of COVD-19 test results topped 8% for three consecutive days. Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the state public health director, said the latest additions, Cook County on Monday and Chicago on Tuesday, have seen the troubling rise in numbers of sick people requiring inpatient treatment as well as a jump in positive test results.

“Based on current trends, we soon could face reduced hospital bed availability and overwhelming our health care systems,” Ezike said.

Earlier Tuesday, Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, predicted the action taken by the governor, pointing out that while COVID-19 is not as prevalent in Chicago as during the pandemic’s early days in March, the number of confirmed cases is doubling every nine days.

“COVID is widespread here in Chicago, and we need you to double down on the things that you know work,” Arwady said. “Please as much as you can, if there are interactions you’re having that are not essential, back off on those.”

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Associated Press writer Kathleen Foody contributed from Chicago.

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Follow Political Writer John O’Connor at https://twitter.com/apoconnor

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No Indoor Dining In Northbrook Under New Coronavirus Restrictions

NORTHBROOK, IL — Indoor dining at Northbrook restaurants will be forbidden starting Wednesday, as state public health officials announced new restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. All service inside bars and restaurants in suburban Cook County will be off-limits, all outdoor eating or drinking has to stop by 11 p.m. and gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 25 people.

It marks the first time the additional mitigation measures will be applied to Arlington Heights and the rest of the Cook County suburbs, although similar restrictions are already in place in Regions 7 and 8, including DuPage, Kane, Kankakee and Will counties.

According to data from the Cook County Department of Public Health, the average number of new confirmed cases rose by 75.9 percent from Oct. 7 through Wednesday, the most recent day where data is available, compared to the prior two weeks.

As of Monday, there have been 742 confirmed coronavirus-related cases in Arlington Heights, according to the Cook County Department of Public Health with 56 new cases last week. That marks an 119 percent increase in confirmed cases over the last 14 days.

(Cook County Department of Public Health)
(Cook County Department of Public Health)

In suburban Cook County overall, the positivity rate and the rate of hospital admissions has been rising sharply. As of Thursday, the most recent day when data is available from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the rounded rolling average of daily new hospital admissions of people with symptoms of COVID-19 had risen to 49 — more than doubling since the start of October.

“We are seeing test positivity across the state increase, but for Region 10, Suburban Cook County, we are also seeing a steady increase in hospitalizations for COVID-like illness,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement announcing the new restrictions. “At the beginning of the pandemic, we were concerned about overwhelming our hospitals, and we must take action now to prevent that possibility.”

RELATED: 1 Coronavirus Death, 61 New Cases Since Last Week In Northbrook

With Monday’s announcement of new measures in suburban Cook County, Region 10, and the re-imposition of restrictions on the Metro East region, Region 4, more than half of the state’s 11 COVID-19 resurgence mitigation regions will be under some form of additional resurgence mitigation.

Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 28, the following rules take effect in Northbrook and other Cook County suburbs:

Bars/Restaurants

  • No indoor service

  • All outside service closes at 11:00 p.m.

  • All patrons should be seated at tables outside

  • No ordering, seating, or congregating at bars — bar stools should be removed

  • Tables should be 6 feet apart

  • No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting

  • No dancing or standing indoors

  • Reservations required for each party

  • No seating of multiple parties at one table

Meetings, Social Events, Gatherings

  • Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25 percent of overall room capacity

  • No party buses

  • Gaming and Casinos close at 11:00 p.m., are limited to

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No Indoor Dining, Drinking In Kane-DuPage Amid Coronavirus Surge

KANE COUNTY, IL — Restaurants and bars in Kane and DuPage counties will be forced to suspend indoor service starting Friday after a surge in coronavirus cases in the region over the past few weeks.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Tuesday that Region 8 (Kane and DuPage counties) and Region 7 (Will and Kankakee counties) will face enhanced coronavirus restrictions after positivity rates there surpassed 8 percent for three consecutive days.

Restrictions Near As Positivity Rate Tops 8% In Kane-DuPage

Those restrictions include a ban on indoor service at restaurants and bars, as well as a 25-person limit on any gatherings in those four counties, Pritzker said.

Restrictions will be lifted when the region records positivity rates under 6.5 percent for three days in a row, while public health officials will add more restrictions if the regional positivity rate remains above 8 percent for 14 days in a row.

Kane County Back On Watch List As Positivity Rate Tops 11%

Pritzker said his administration will give priority consideration to businesses in regions facing new restrictions through its $220 million Business Interruption Grants program.

“The new wave of the virus is disrupting small businesses in these regions,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker urged residents to wear masks, wash their hands and keep their distance as flu season starts amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Late-Night Liquor Ban Lifted Despite Surge In Coronavirus Cases

“As cold weather approaches and flu season is upon us, we’re going to see the rippling effects of these current unfortunate trends,” Pritzker said, warning that “the massive surge of cases in our neighboring states will continue to have a spillover effect.”

“There is no easy fix for the effects of this virus on our economy and on our public health.” Pritzker continued. “But we can, and we will, manage through this.”

Check back to Patch.com for updates to this developing story.

REGIONAL NEWS:

This article originally appeared on the Aurora Patch

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Ben Carson attended indoor fundraiser where attendees didn’t wear masks: report

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson attended a fundraiser for a Virginia congressional candidate on Monday in which attendees were not wearing masks, BuzzFeed News reports.



a young man wearing a suit and tie: Ben Carson attended indoor fundraiser where attendees didn't wear masks: report


© Hill.TV
Ben Carson attended indoor fundraiser where attendees didn’t wear masks: report

Carson attended a fundraiser for Republican Bob Good, who is running to represent Virginia’s 5th Congressional District against Cameron Webb (D). Press was denied access to the event, according to a reporter for the Prince William Times, but several photos of the event were posted on Facebook.

The photos posted show Carson and other attendees congregating at the indoor event without masks, going against the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Virginia Department of Health. While he is shown eating in some of the photos, he is also seen in others simply talking with other guests without wearing a mask.

The Virginia Department of Health requires people to wear masks “when spending time in indoor public settings.” However, it is unclear whether the event took place at a public or private setting.

Virginia also mandates that dining establishments separate parties six feet apart from each other, but the photos do not show the parties separated.

Carson appears to be contradicting his own public advice on face coverings. During an interview with ABC in June, Carson said of wearing masks: “If we all do it, it will make a dramatic difference.”

Video: AP FACT CHECK: Trump flubs study on masks and coronavirus (Associated Press)

AP FACT CHECK: Trump flubs study on masks and coronavirus

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UP NEXT

The Trump administration has been downplaying wearing masks since the beginning of the pandemic, and has not let up despite mandates on face coverings across the country.

During an NBC town hall last Thursday, Trump misrepresented a September study from the CDC, falsely claiming that it showed 85 percent of individuals who wear masks contract the virus.

The study found that adults with confirmed COVID-19 cases were about twice as likely than those who tested negative to have reported dining at a restaurant before falling ill. The CDC later tried to correct misconceptions about the study, tweeting that “the interpretation that more mask-wearers are getting infected compared to non-mask wearers is incorrect.”

The president was asked if he had changed his mind on the effectiveness of masks after contracting coronavirus himself earlier this month, and said he had not.

Good has said he’s not convinced that wearing masks makes a difference.

“I had one doctor tell me that wearing a mask is like putting up a chain link fence to keep out mosquitoes,” he said in an interview with NBC Washington.

Trump endorsed Good in September after he beat out incumbent Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) in the state’s June primary election. Webb, a physician, has outraised Good in the predominantly right-leaning district on the Virginia-North Carolina state line.

The Hill has reached out to Carson and Good for comment.

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