“You won’t ever know if what you did personally helped. That’s the nature of public health. When the best way to save lives is to prevent a disease rather than treat it, success often looks like an overreaction.” Mari Armstrong-Hough
Dear Community Members,
At Strength For All and Women’s Strength Coalition, we firmly believe that all people have the right to feel safe and strong in their body. Access, inclusion, and economic equity, are at the forefront of our operations. For these reasons, we simply cannot continue with business as usual.
We are currently exploring offering FREE remote, home classes for folks looking for some community and exercise during this time. We will update you as soon as we are able.
Effective Monday, March 16, Strength For All will close for two weeks. The decision was made with the knowledge that it will create a significant and potentially insurmountable financial burden for our organization.
This is a challenging time for the collective human experience. Many are being forced to grapple with questions they feel unequipped to answer. We are faced with harsh ethical and economical realities that are at odds with one another.
The below considerations contributed to this decision:
- Drastic measures are now being taken here and abroad to slow community spread, including the complete quarantine of entire countries/regions, the closure of non essential businesses (such as gyms), the banning of public events, and the closure of schools
- Despite best practices for social distancing and personal hygeine recommendations here in NYC, the virus continues to spread at a rapid rate
- If the virus is not contained, our healthcare system will be significantly compromised, as it currently is in Italy
- Seattle’s health care system is already under extreme stress
- You can spread Coronavirus with no symptoms, so while recommendations to stay home while sick are useful, they may not be sufficient
- This is much more serious than the flu
- It is our collective responsibility to flatten the curve while a vaccine is being researched to protect the most vulnerable among us
- The most vulnerable to the virus include adults over 60, the immunosuppressed or immunocompromised, and individuals with chronic illnesses
- It is impossible to know how many vulnerable people are enrolled in classes at Strength For All currently
- Many individuals taking Strength Foundations courses at Strength For All budgeted for the course and are now faced with an unfortunate choice:
- Ignore the CDC’s guidelines for social distancing (6 feet distance between all people) and risk infecting themselves and spreading the virus to their family members, or;
- Drop out of a class they care about and forfeit the money spent, or;
- Drop out of a class they care about and be forced to ask Strength For All for a refund, while knowing this will hurt our business in a time of financial crisis.
It is not ethical to put our members in that position
- Strength For All can’t afford to issue refunds or close its doors for a prolonged period of time. Similar to businesses in Seattle, we risk going out of business. However, this is not the responsibility of the general public, and I would rather we truly did all we could to slow the spread of the Coronavirus.
- Other gyms remain open, close by. It is true. We cannot force other businesses to close, we can only act based on the evidence in front of us and hope it is either an overreaction or that non essential businesses are required to close soon, with adequate financial support from governing bodies to support staff
- H.R.6201 – Families First Coronavirus Response Act, was just passed, hopefully ensuring financial assistance for those suffering from lack of work
All memberships will be frozen for this two week period
We will continue to closely monitor the situation and should things improve, the decision will be revisited. As of now, we will reopen and classes will resume Monday, March 30.
The best way to support our ability to continue existing during this time would be to keep your membership active. Please know that although you may personally not be at risk, our other members and their chosen families may be.
I ask for your support during this time. If you need to speak with someone regarding this decision, please connect to me directly at Shannon@WomensStrengthCoalition.com.
Shannon Kim Wagner (she/hers)
Executive Director, Women’s Strength Coalition