MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – It’s been quite the last week for yoga studio owners.
Unlike gyms which can remain open but cannot hold group classes, yoga studios are forced to close entirely.
The Dane County Public Health Emergency order considers yoga studios to fall under the category of group exercise classes:
“Group exercise classes are considered Mass Gatherings and are prohibited inside when it involves any individuals who are not from the same household. Group exercise classes outside are limited to ten (10) individuals who are not from the same household.”
Carlos and Megan Tucker are the owners of DragonFly Yoga and own five locations across Dane County. They say they’ve had a 95 percent drop in memberships since the pandemic began.
“We rely on, as a business, having bodies in the studio for money and when we don’t have that we have no income,” said Carlos Tucker. “With that much of a hit, what’s leftover isn’t much at all and it doesn’t help.”
At EarthView Yoga, owner Nick Wirth says he’s unsure how long they can make it.
“It’s devastating,” said Wirth. “We’ve made it, I think, extremely safe to come in, but now it’s just the legality of it is something that we’re contending with.”
The Tuckers say it’s frustrating to see other small businesses be allowed to operate under certain health guidelines.
“It’s just why us? And not everyone else?” said Megan Tucker. “To me, it feels like what we’re doing is just as safe, if not safer, than other places allowed to remain open.”
Wirth says it can be difficult to know there’s a lot of the decision making that is out of his control.
“There’s a recognition when you’re in this position in that these decisions are arbitrary,” said Wirth. “The fact that an arbitrary decision can have such a deep impact on your entire life and for some people, their livelihoods.”
Dragonfly has upped the ante with virtual classes through an app called DFly on Demand.
“We put all our savings that we have left personally into it,” said Megan Tucker. “It’s our Hail Mary.”
EarthView is also simulcasting classes online but Wirth says it’s not the same as practicing yoga in person.
“It’s an auditory experience. It’s a visual experience,” said Wirth. “It’s also a community experience and it’s hard to get the same community online.”
The yoga studio owners say they want to follow the rules and do what’s right.
“We care about the health of people. We care about doing things safely,” said Carlos Tucker.
“We’re in response mode,” said Wirth. “We try to just move through it with as much grace as we can.”
Dragonfly and EarthView will continue their online classes until the order is lifted. They are hopeful to resume small in-person classes following CDC guidelines.
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