Health  |  News & Politics

Local Fitness Group Has to Pay $10,000 for Breaking Covid-19 Regulations

The city of DC says gym employees and clients repeatedly defied mask and social-distancing rules.

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The local fitness group Urban Athletic Club will have to pay $10,000 to the city of DC due to allegations that it violated Covid-19 public health emergency orders. The Office of the Attorney General announced the settlement in a press statement Thursday.

DC Attorney General Karl Racine filed a complaint against the group in December. It alleged that Urban Athletic Club did not follow guidelines regarding social distancing, mask-use, and the correct spacing and sanitation of equipment and workout stations. Per Mayor Muriel Bowser’s phase two restrictions on gyms and fitness, clients must be masked while entering and leaving the gym, as well as while working out, if safe to do so. Additionally, clients must be six-feet-apart, equipment must be cleaned between sessions, and workout stations must have 10 feet of space around them.

After the suit was filed, Urban Athletic Club agreed to follow Mayor Bowser’s public health orders while the case progressed.

According to the lawsuit, a DC resident reported in September that employees and clients at the Shaw gym were not practicing social distancing or appropriately wearing masks. The attorney general’s office alerted the gym of the report, and owner Graham King acknowledged that patrons hadn’t been complying with the mandate.

In several subsequent visits by an investigator, clients were seen entering and exiting the studio mask-less, according to the lawsuit, as well as working out on the sidewalk in front of the gym without masks or adequate social distancing. Additionally, the lawsuit says the gym erected an outdoor tent that did not provide proper social distancing from passersby walking down the street, and that equipment in the tent was not cleaned between uses. When an investigator entered the gym, the front desk employee was mask-less, says the lawsuit, as were some people working out indoors.

The lawsuit also includes screenshots of posts from Urban Athletic Club’s public Instagram page, which are used as evidence that the group was not adhering to guidelines.

While the reports outlined in the lawsuit all took place at Urban Athletic Club’s Shaw location, the group operates spots at the Line Hotel, the Kimpton Glover Park Hotel, and the Watergate office building.

Per the settlement, the group must pay $5,000 to the city within a week, and then pay the additional $5,000 within the next six months. Urban Athletic Club will also have to abide by all city-wide Covid-19 precautions or risk paying another $10,000 penalty.

At the time of publication, Urban Athletic Club had not responded to requests for comment.

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Mimi Montgomery Washingtonian
Associate Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. Her work has appeared in Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Petworth.