• 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 Cooper

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