DC gyms asking to be exempt from mask mandate if they require customers be vaccinated

Gyms in D.C. are asking Mayor Muriel Bowser to exempt them from the mask mandate put in place last month if they require all patrons of their businesses to be vaccinated.

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Multiple D.C. gyms signed a letter addressed to Bowser and DC Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt explaining how the mask mandate impacts their businesses and requesting the option to operate in a "vaccine-only capacity."

"As owners and operators of these spaces, we are intimately aware of the impact of this mandate," the letter reads. "Our businesses are disproportionately impacted by mask mandates, as clients are put off by the idea of working out with a mask, potentially limiting their ability to breathe easily while they do physical activity. We are also dismayed by this mandate -as it disproportionately impacts the fitness industry while having no to minimal impact on others."

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The letter goes on to say that operating in a vaccine-only capacity would include strict documentation checks that would then allow patrons to work out without a mask.

"If our collective goal is to raise the percentage of our community that is fully vaccinated, then we believe it is time that we start taking additional steps to change the societal incentive structure such that accessing all of the spaces that we know and love is more challenging to do if you are not fully vaccinated," the letter says.

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Barry's Bootcamp, Orange Theory Fitness and Solidcore are all listed on the letter.

The mayor's office has not released an official response to the letter.