NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Gyms and fitness studios were forced to shut their doors in mid March because of COVID-19, but some of them haven’t stopped asking their members to pay. Millions of people across the U.S. are out of work and don’t want to be charged for a service they’re not even allowed to use.
Major chains, like Planet Fitness, immediately froze all of their corporate and franchise stores. They say they'll adjust billing when they reopen.
Gold’s Gym is freezing billing at its corporate spots, but that doesn’t mean that happened at all of its franchise locations.
The YMCA of Middle Tennessee automatically put memberships on hold for the month of April. They are giving members the option to turn their monthly dues into charitable donations. It is possible YMCAs outside of Middle Tennessee did not automatically put memberships on hold.
If a business is still billing customers who want to cancel, the National Consumer League says to reach out to the business and document all attempts and responses from both parties.
"I think a health club that wants to maintain its customers after this health emergency is done should be doing all it can to try and make sure its part of the solution to consumers problems here not part of the problem," National Consumers League spokesperson John Breyault said.
If the fitness center isn’t cooperating, contact the the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs for assistance.
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What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)
According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.
What are the symptoms?
The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or at least two of the following symptoms:
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.
The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.