Fitness firm Equinox said Monday it will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination at its gyms, SoulCycle studios, and corporate offices in New York City.
Equinox said in a release that, starting in September, members, riders, and employees, must provide a one-time proof of vaccination in the form of a physical immunization card, a photo of the card, or a digital vaccine pass.
“An overwhelming majority of members expressed support for requiring vaccines in order to access Equinox clubs,” the company said in the release, which noted that a recent survey found that 96 percent of Equinox Fitness Clubs members and 89 percent of employees said they have been vaccinated.
Equinox said it would work to accommodate requests for exemptions on medical or religious grounds by members and employees.
“We have a responsibility to take bold action and respond to changing circumstances with urgency. We encourage other leading brands to join us in this effort to best protect our communities,” said Harvey Spevak, Equinox Group executive chairman and managing partner.
Equinox operates more than 100 fitness clubs around the world, with 40 of them located in New York.
Concern about the Delta strain of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus—the pathogen that causes COVID-19—has sparked renewed fears of another viral surge and a bevy of moves in response by businesses, as well as state and local governments.
BlackRock, Facebook, Disney, and Google recently stated they would require employees to be vaccinated before returning to in-person work.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said state workers will have to get inoculated or subject themselves to weekly testing, while California Gov. Gavin Newsom has said state employees will be required to get the shot.
Cuomo on Monday also urged private businesses to impose “vaccine-only” admission to incentivize getting the vaccine.
According to Fortune, around a third of the companies listed on the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest companies are mulling vaccine requirements for employees, though only around 10 percent have imposed mandates.
The comments from Cuomo mark the latest attempt by government leaders to spur reluctant Americans to get vaccinated amid the spread of the Delta strain, listed as a “variant of concern” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which considers it to be more transmissible and potentially more resistant to vaccines.
Vaccine passport-like systems have been flagged by civil liberties groups including the ACLU and Republican officials as being draconian, and critics argue it would create a two-tiered society of vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.
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