YogaWorks is permanently closing all New York City studios as the coronavirus outbreak wreaks havoc on the US fitness industry
YogaWorks is permanently closing all New York City studios, according to an email sent to members of the yoga chain by CEO Brian Cooper and confirmed by a company spokesperson on Friday. Cooper wrote in the letter that the company had struggled financially in New York City "for an extensive period of time" due to rising rent prices and competition from other boutique fitness studios. The closures come one day after Gold's Gym announced it is permanently shuttering 30 locations, as well as on the heels of a new proposal released by the Trump Administration on Thursday calling for the reopening of gyms across the country. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
The fitness chain YogaWorks is permanently closing its New York City studios effective on April 19, according to an email sent to members on Friday. YogaWorks CEO Brian Cooper wrote in the letter that the company had struggled financially in New York City "for an extensive period of time" due to rising rent prices and competition from other boutique fitness studios. Temporary closures due to the coronavirus further inflamed the yoga chain's woes, ultimately leading to the decision to permanently close its four New York studios. The closures come after Gold's Gym announced it is permanently shuttering 30 locations and on the heels of the proposal released by the Trump Administration on Thursday that calls for relaxing coronavirus-related restrictions and includes guidelines for reopening gyms. "This is certainly not the outcome we neither wanted nor anticipated, but these considerable obstacles, which were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, have unfortunately made it inevitable," Cooper wrote. In response to Business Insider's request to comment, a YogaWorks spokesperson shared a portion of the letter Cooper sent to members but declined to comment on the potential for additional closures in other cities. YogaWorks currently operates more than 60 studios in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, Northern California, Orange Country, and Washington, DC. According to its website, it has plans "to announce studio openings in other cities soon." Members of the impacted studios in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Westchester will be eligible for full refunds or credit transfers to other studios or virtual yoga programs, according to the email. It was not immediately clear if instructors at these locations are being relocated or were laid off. YogaWorks became a publicly-traded company in August 2017 — after its first attempt at an IPO earlier that same year — but later removed its stock listing in 2019 after less than two years. "We cannot stress enough the levels of gratitude, appreciation, and sympathy that we have for all of our New York City teachers and team members, and we thank them for their tireless dedication to YogaWorks and our students," Cooper wrote. Read the full letter from the YogaWorks CEO, below: Dear students, It is with deep sadness that we write to inform you that we have to permanently close our New York studios, effective this Sunday, April 19th. Despite our best efforts, YogaWorks' New York business has struggled financially for an extensive period of time, having faced increasing fixed costs and intense competition in the market. In addition to those challenges, the only profitable studio we operated in the region recently lost its lease. This is certainly not the outcome we neither wanted nor anticipated, but these considerable obstacles, which were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, have unfortunately made it inevitable. We cannot stress enough the levels of gratitude, appreciation and sympathy that we have for all of our New York City teachers and team members, and we thank them for their tireless dedication to YogaWorks and our students. Under normal circumstances we would love to be able to have final classes, closing gatherings and sendoffs, but as with so many things right now, shelter in place and social distancing prevent optimal circumstances around closure of a community that has meant so much to all of us for so long. One thing that is clear to us, however, is that your strong relationships with YogaWorks teachers are long-lasting and enduring and we are fully committed to make certain that you have an avenue to continue to connect with your teachers. In the near future, we will send you the contact information for all teachers who would like to share their information so you can continue to foster the community despite our current circumstances. We have practiced with you, gotten to know you and your friends and families, and built a community together in New York, and for that we are forever grateful for your support and dedication. We will also be available for you to whatever extent we can provide; and for more technical membership or class related assistance, you can contact us through www.yogaworks.com/member-services/ to discuss membership options whether it is continued live-streaming access to other nationwide studios, transfers, credits, refunds or otherwise. This journey has been a difficult one and we are hopeful for greener pastures over the horizon for you, our students, our teachers and staff, and the entire yoga community. Please stay healthy and be well, Brian CooperSEE ALSO: Gold's Gym is closing more than 30 locations for good as the coronavirus ravages the fitness industry — here's the list Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why thoroughbred horse semen is the world's most expensive liquid
More like this (3)
The NYC Department of Education is reversing its ban on Zoom after the company addresses its security and privacy concerns (ZM)
New York City schools are once again allowed to use Zoom for online learning, after the...New York City schools are once again allowed to use Zoom for online learning, after the district banned the red-hot videoconferencing app in early April. Zoom made several fixes to address the NYC Department of Education's concerns about privacy and security for students and teachers using the tool, city officials told Chalkbeat. Schools and students will now have access to Zoom through a central NYC Department of Education account with the necessary privacy and security features automatically enabled, according to a letter from NYC Department of Education Chancellor Richard A. Carranza to families. Zoom CEO Eric Yuan told Business Insider in April that he was working with the New York City school district to create a comprehensive, district-wide plan to use Zoom and address the district's concerns. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. New York City schools are once again allowed to use Zoom for online learning, the videoconferencing company and NYC Department of Education both said on Wednesday. The school district banned the use of Zoom for online education on April 4 over privacy and security concerns involved in using the app. Zoom agreed to make some changes to address the city's concerns about privacy and security for students and teachers using the tool, education department officials told Chalkbeat. According to a letter from NYC Department of Education Chancellor Richard A. Carranza to families, schools and students will now have access to a central NYC Department of Education Zoom account with specific data encryption and storage settings that the district requested Zoom implement for all its users. "Our new agreement with Zoom will give your children another way to connect with their schools, teachers and school staff. We are excited to be able to have another safe and secure option for school communities to use during this unprecedented time," Carranza said in the letter. There are also new settings to make sure only NYC Department of Education-approved participants and guests can join virtual classrooms, as well as additional controls over each meeting for hosts. Those settings seem designed to discourage "Zoombombing," where pranksters and trolls crash Zoom meetings and display pornography or other indecent material to other participants. Zoom CEO Eric Yuan told Business Insider in April that he was working with the New York City school district to create a comprehensive, district-wide plan to use Zoom that will make sure there are overarching security settings baked into every teacher and student's account. "We are proud that the New York City Department of Education has made Zoom available as an approved home-based learning platform to educators and staff across the city for secure and frictionless remote education to the city's over 1.1 million students," Yuan said in a statement provided to Business Insider on Wednesday. "We look forward to continued partnership with the DOE and service to the educators and students in New York." Why NYC banned Zoom in the first place New York City schools started remote learning on March 23, with many teachers turning to Zoom because it was simple to set up and start using. Zoom lifted the 40 minute time limit for K-12 schools in countries affected by the pandemic beginning in early March. However, Zoombombing concerns led the New York City Department of Education to ban Zoom entirely in early April. These concerns prompted warnings from the FBI and demands for increased user privacy from the New York Attorney General. After Zoom was banned, the department directed teachers to use alternative tools like Microsoft Teams and Google Classroom. However, not all were happy about this move: It disrupted the learning process, as teachers had to figure out a brand-new tool while already under the pressures of shifting to remote education. Schools can continue using Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams if they prefer. Some teachers posted on Twitter to say they were happy to be able to use Zoom again. And just like that...Zoom is back! Thank you to @nycschools for the return to a great learning platform! #everylearnereveryday #leadersinourlearning pic.twitter.com/PIYNezrq7U — P.S. 304 The Early Childhood Lab School (@PS304X) May 6, 2020 When you find out @NYCSchools can use @zoom_us again! pic.twitter.com/QjT8pyhAaf — Miguel Negron (@AP_Negron) May 6, 2020 Zoom has implemented several changes in the last month to improve the privacy and security of its tool. This includes turning passwords and virtual waiting rooms on by default for free users and K-12 education accounts. Got a tip? Contact this reporter via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Signal at 925-364-4258. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Pathologists debunk 13 coronavirus myths
New York City public school teachers describe being unprepared and overwhelmed as the coronavirus forces schools to shut down
Schools around the country have been closed in response to the spread of COVID-19, the disease...Schools around the country have been closed in response to the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. New York, the state hardest-hit by the coronavirus spread, abruptly closed schools on March 18 in what was initially for two weeks. On April 11, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that schools in the city would be shut for the remainder of the school year. Several New York City public school teachers spoke to Insider and said that students and teachers were not prepared for remote learning and they were not given the resources they needed in order to transition from a classroom setting to online. "It took us almost 3 weeks to FINALLY get these kids logged on ... and now that they hear that there is no more school, we will lose them," one teacher told Insider after de Blasio's announcement. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. As the novel coronavirus pandemic has shuttered schools across America, teachers, parents, and students have had to quickly adjust to their new reality. As of April 10, every US state has mandated some form of school closure, with some states extending their closures until at least the end of the school year. New York, the state hardest-hit by the coronavirus spread, abruptly closed schools on March 18, initially only for a two-week period. As of April 12, the state has reported over 189,000 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and 9,385 deaths. Nearly 6,000 of those deaths occurred in New York City. "The single most effective way to slow the spread of this virus is to reduce close contacts, and that includes in our schools," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on March 16 when he issued an executive order closing schools in the state. "Every district will be required to submit a plan to ensure children of healthcare workers and first responders have access to child care so these closures do not strain our hospitals and that children who depend on school meal programs continue getting the support they need," he added. The order was first through April 1, and then extended through April 15 as the COVID-19 outbreak intensified. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on April 11 that schools in the city would be shut for the remainder of the school year. Several New York City public school teachers told Insider last month that students and teachers were not prepared for remote learning and they were not given the resources they needed in order to transition from a classroom setting to online. And in response to news that schools remain closed for the duration of the school year, these teachers say they feel "anxious," angry, and "extremely checked out" by it all. 'We didn't receive much guidance at all' Several New York City public school teachers spoke to Insider last month to discuss their preparedness for the school shutdowns. According to the New York City Department of Education, there are over 1.1 million students in the NYC school system, making it the largest school district in the United States. Among those students, 85% are from a minority ethnic or racial background, and around 73% are economically disadvantaged. There are 75,000 teachers across 1,866 schools within the NYC DOE. The United Federation of Teachers, the labor union that represents most teachers in New York City public schools, told teachers in an email that it had urged Mayor de Blasio to close schools from March 13. "We understand the immense disruption a school closure will create for our families," UFT President Michael Mulgrew said in a March 13 email to teachers, seen by Insider. "But right now more than a million students and staff crisscross the city every day on their way to schools, putting themselves and others at risk of exposure and increasing the likelihood of bringing exposure into their homes and communities." Mulgrew emailed teachers again on March 16, the day that Cuomo announced statewide school closures, and explained the process of transitioning lessons to online learning. Faculty only had three days to come into their schools to prepare plans for remote learning. "We have much work to do in very little time," the email, seen by Insider, said. Rebecca, an English teacher who asked that we not use her last name, said her school did not provide her with much guidance on how she was supposed to transition to digital learning. "At my school, we didn't receive much guidance at all," she told Insider. "We were supposed to come in for three days for 'training,' which turned out to be 'we go to our separate classrooms and work independently.'" "We received some general guidance, such as making sure assignments are not too difficult or discouraging for students, and ensuring all students get signed up for Google Classroom," she added. Jessica, an art teacher at a New York City charter school, reported similar frustrations with how little teachers were prepared for the transition. Jessica, not her real name, asked that her identity be protected for fear of retribution at work. "We got a few links to tutorial videos but that was it," she told Insider. She said that students were given mandatory work for other subjects, like math and English, but art teachers were told to provide "optional lessons" that kids can follow. "I do not have the resources necessary and calling parents is not enough to promote learning," she said. Barbara, an English teacher, said teachers were given a "quick tutorial" on how to use online tools, like Google Classroom, in order to hand out and grade assignments, but were otherwise "told to make it work." Barbara, not her real name, asked that her identity be protected. "The Department of Education sent a few emails with websites to help us plan curriculum," she said. "Students were not prepared." Adam, a math teacher, said before the shutdown, teachers at his school sat down and watched "a one-hour tutorial" as part of their preparation. He asked that we only use his first name. 'Parents are basically homeschooling kids' Some teachers have said the lack of clarity and direct instruction from the state has left parents feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. "Parents are basically homeschooling kids and a few have told me they're overwhelmed with teaching the kids and working from home at the same time," said Jessica. Rebecca said students were not given time to prepare for the transition, putting the responsibility on teachers and administrators to work through any issues as they come up. "This was obviously not something students expected," she said. "They came to school on Friday and found out over the weekend they would not be returning. Preparation for the students has mostly come in the form of teachers and administration communicating with students and parents about the steps necessary to get set up on Google Classroom." Rebecca said using digital tools has become a source of tension. "Some parents have gotten upset with us teachers when we can't help them with tech support," said Rebecca. "Many seem irate when we notify them that students are not submitting assignments, which is understandable because the situation is so stressful and tense for everybody. Other parents have fully embraced the change." "It's certainly forcing students to step up and take responsibility for their learning, but the problems arise when they still don't have access to the internet, or they're sharing one laptop with multiple siblings," she added. The New York City Department of Education did not respond to Insider for comment. 'We're just being used as babysitters' Insider spoke to these teachers again on April 12, following news that de Blasio had extended school shutdowns until June. Rebecca told Insider that in the weeks since transitioning to online learning, teachers and students had "checked out" of classes. "Honestly I'm just feeling extremely checked out and I think most teachers and students are as well," she told Insider. She added that the decision by city officials to cancel spring break this year has added more anger over the amount of responsibility and the lack of direction given to teachers. "Taking away our spring break was a really low blow and makes everyone feel like we're just being used as babysitters," she said. Jessica said her charter school hasn't yet discussed the extended closures and said there have been discussions about cutting jobs. "My school hasn't told us anything yet so I'm pretty anxious about it all," she said. "Since hearing the news, I am feeling all sorts of mixed emotions," Barbara told Insider. She said that she and her fellow teachers have finally started to master the digital tools they have been told to use for their online lessons, but said that the amount of work that teachers have to do in order to compensate is "ridiculous and absurd." "It's constant emails, grading, paperwork, more grading and constant communication with parents," she said. "As an English teacher, I am constantly reading and editing, and the kids don't even look at my feedback. I miss the physical interaction of reading and discussing." "It took us almost three weeks to FINALLY get these kids logged on ... and now that they hear that there is no more school, we will lose them. Why would a kid feel that he or she has to work if we aren't going back?" Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A 45-year-long study discovered trends in successful hyper-intelligent children
A new Netflix documentary takes a no-holds-barred look at yoga guru Bikram Choudhury, still training teachers...A new Netflix documentary takes a no-holds-barred look at yoga guru Bikram Choudhury, still training teachers after dozens of accusations of abuseIn recent years, there’s been a growing discourse on intense fitness classes – Crossfit, SoulCycle – as the new secular religion. But if there was one branch that pushed the envelope from religion to near-fanatic cultishness, it’s Bikram yoga, the 90-minute routine of 26 postures performed in a room heated to 120 degrees founded by Bikram Choudhury. Clad in his signature tiny black Speedo and tight ponytail, Choudhury lorded over an empire built on sweat, devotion and $10k a pop teacher trainings – and, as explained in a new Netflix documentary, sexual harassment, rape and maniacal control. Continue reading...