Coronavirus: Here's how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the Bay Area economy

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- COVID-19's impact on the local economy is a growing concern especially for fitness professionals, many of whom will have no income if the gyms and studios they work close.

The issue is especially concerning for some smaller studios that financially can't afford to continue paying teachers if their doors close. As independent contractors grapple with how to stay afloat, one Bay Area teacher is coordinating an effort that would help studios, teachers, and students.

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Elyse Kaye is a full-time yoga teacher who leads as many as 5-6 classes a day, 7 days a week.
"I don't have the ability not to go to work because this is how I make my paycheck," said Kaye.

Kaye says surprisingly her class attendance is up this week with many people working from home, but she's already lost a big portion of her income as a result of COVID-19.

"The corporate classes have all been canceled," said Kaye.

Some studios have begun to limit class size and it's possible at some point they may need to close their doors.

"I can't afford to not pay my rent they're not putting a moratorium on not paying rent," said Kaye.
Some larger studios have committed to financially supporting teachers no matter what. El-Cap owns indoor rock climbing and fitness gyms with 4 Bay Area "Planet Granite" locations.

"The safety and well-being of everyone who works for the organization is paramount," said Robert Cohen, El Cap CEO.

"Keeping them healthy and part of the company in the long-run is much more valuable to us than having them come to work sick because they're worried about
putting food on their table," said Cohen.

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Cohen says the company will even pay for COVID-19 tests. It's an option that might not be possible for smaller gyms and studios.

Yoga teacher Jeremy Falk is coordinating an effort whereby teachers could teach their regularly scheduled classes with students practicing from home ..
and the studios and teachers still getting paid.

"Shoot these classes from online from home and students could still sign up through whatever system they're using to sign up for studio classes," said Falk.

The idea not just about generating income but also about serving the community.

"The people who are at home really stressed out in these times need yoga and meditation more than ever," said Falk.

Another idea for supporting smaller studios is purchasing gift cards now that can be used at a later time.

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