As city-wide lockdowns and social distancing measures continue, companies are panicking to inform customers that a shred of normalcy is on the horizon. One such brand is SoulCycle, which sent out an email Wednesday afternoon reassuring customers that the new “Soul Standard” will make it as safe as possible for them to attend a sweaty cycling class in an enclosed space during a pandemic.
The indoor cycling brand, often described as an exercise cult, says they are considering “safely reopening studios” as some local governments begin to ease restrictions on businesses. While I can’t think of anything I want to do less right now than get into a dark room and sweat profusely with a group of strangers, while touching equipment that has been sweat on by other strangers, perhaps others are itching to go share some bodily fluids.
The email outlines the company’s new standards for cleanliness and safety, which it says prioritize staff and rider safety while stripping away some of the quintessential things that made SoulCycle feel like a luxury experience. A “heightened deep cleaning process” will be put into place in all studios, according to the email, and will involve more frequent cleaning with disinfectant, while “high touch areas,” like bikes and hand weights, will be
disinfected after every class.
Staff will be required to wear gloves as well as masks which will be “highly encouraged where not government-mandated.” Markers will be placed on the floors for customers to stand a safe distance away while speaking to desk attendants. The studios will also use “disinfectant with electrostatic distribution,” which allegedly provides a more even coating of disinfectant spray. (It’s almost as if in the before time, when staff hustled riders onto quickly cleaned bikes, the studios may have been moonlighting as virus incubators.)
“High touch amenities” like “gum, razors, q-tips, and phone charging” will be removed from studios while hair ties and earplugs will only be made available upon request as opposed to sitting in a jar. Water fountains will be for emergency use only. Showers will be closed “until further notice.” While these amenity changes are certainly are small and pose the most minor of inconveniences, they take away some of the SoulCycle shine–the little luxuries that make it easier to swallow the price tag of a class.
And, of course, the usually packed SoulCycle “tribe” will be thinned out. “We’re only booking bikes at a safe distance apart,” says the email, including a
“With no way to predict what will happen, the best way we can prepare is to respond and evolve as the situation develops—with nothing but your safety in mind,” the company’s website reads. Certainly seems like owners of a business hemorrhaging money are only concerned with clients’ health! Best of luck to SoulCycle as they try to assure riders that packing into a small, dark, poorly ventilated room is a perfectly fine isolation activity. Perhaps we should just continue to sweat from our own homes.