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Parks are the new gyms

Owners of local gyms and fitness studios have complained in recent months about the dangers to their businesses caused by restrictions on operating during the era of Covid-19. In late July, a group called the S.F. Independent Fitness Studio Coalition demanded that the city reveal Covid-19 data it was using in its decision to keep fitness studios from reopening. The coalition estimated that its members were losing a total of $9 million a month since shelter in place was established.

In August, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department announced a plan that, if approved, would launch September 13 and allow fitness instructors to hold classes outdoors in San Francisco’s parks with licensing costs reduced by more than 90 percent.

“Like parks themselves, fitness classes promote physical health and mental well-being — something we could all use right now,” said Rec and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “This program would allow fitness providers with closed storefronts an inexpensive way to hold classes again while allocating space in a fair and transparent way.” 

The pricing differs depending on the size of classes, but the department hopes the offering can “alleviate some of the economic impact of health closures by operating outdoors in public spaces, as permitted by the current health order.”

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