After an employee tested positive for COVID-19 last week, fitness company Peloton is canceling live video cycling and running classes through the end of April, reports The Verge. Peloton closed its New York studio for cleaning, hoping to reopen Tuesday with a small crew. Prior to this decision, at-home subscribers could stream live classes on their Peloton bikes or treadmills or through an app using their own fitness equipment. Though the live classes won’t be offered, members can still access archived workouts.
According to The Verge, Peloton got mixed reactions from subscribers on continuing the live classes. Though Peloton got approval in New York to operate as an essential business, some subscribers expressed concerns about the health of Peloton employees, particularly those working in New York which has an exceptionally high number of coronavirus cases. Other subscribers, on the other hand, liked having fresh, live content so they could continue their workouts while stuck at home, improving them both physically and mentally.
In an April 6 letter to members, Peloton co-founder and CEO John Foley explained several major initiatives in how the company is handling impacts from the coronavirus. First, the company is pledging $1 million to keep Bike and Tread members healthy and connected for the next two months. The company will cover two months of membership fees for members in the U.S., U.K. and Canada who need financial support. Members can apply online for consideration. Priority will be given to members who have lost their jobs or are unable to work related to COVID-19.
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In another generous move, Peloton is offering to extend its Comeback Program and donating 100 additional bikes to hospitals, health care professionals and frontline volunteers. Also, between March 21 and 22, members took more than half a million classes, generating a $500,000 donation to The Food Bank for New York City. This donation will provide 2.5 million meals for New Yorkers.
Foley also wrote about the change in live classes.
“We have also decided to pause live production at both our New York and London studios through Thursday, April 30th. In the interim, we will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves. In addition to the thousands of classes across 10 fitness disciplines available on-demand, we’ll continue to add new, pre-recorded content like our recently launched Fit Family Programming and Dance Cardio to continue to bring you the best workouts possible during this time,” Foley said.
“We are also introducing additional Encore classes to the schedule. These previously recorded classes offer a fresh Leaderboard to recreate a live experience – and you may even see your Instructors joining to retake some of their favorite classes,” added Foley.
Every subscription company has been impacted by the coronavirus in some way. In this case, Peloton, whose headquarters are located in New York, couldn’t escape COVID-19. The company, however, seems to have found some middle ground that members and employees can be happy with. Members who need financial assistance to cover their membership fees will receive it, while employees can take some time off to care for themselves and their families. Meanwhile, members still have access to recorded workouts to continue their fitness regimens. The icing on the cake is that Peloton is helping fellow New Yorkers, including feeding hungry individuals and families and reaching out to healthcare professionals to give them support with fitness equipment. When life handed Peloton lemons, the company made lemonade.