‘Some people will vote with their pocketbooks’: DC fitness club takes ‘proof of vaccine’ stand

A D.C. health club, VIDA Fitness, is implementing a “proof of vaccination” requirement — and the club’s founder tells WTOP some members have asked what took so long.

“We believe that the best way to get past this pandemic is get everybody vaccinated,” said David von Storch. He, and a coalition of gyms, had hoped to be given a waiver of the District’s new mask mandate by opening only to vaccinated people.

Von Storch said the club is now updating its computer software to facilitate members providing proof while checking-in to the facility.

“What we’re doing in the next two weeks is rolling out the program, communicating with our members,” von Storch said. “We’ll have it notified in the record that they showed us a vaccination card, so they only have to do it once.”

He said the response has been overwhelmingly positive. “After ‘thank you,’ the second-most comment is, ‘What took you so long?'”

He said the company imposed mandatory vaccinations for employees in May, and isn’t surprised most club members are supportive.

“In the space where we compete — fitness — people are health conscious,” von Storch said.

Some members have raised an eyebrow at the requirement, he acknowledges.

“There are others who say, ‘Hey, I’m vaccinated, but I don’t don’t feel comfortable giving you my medical information,'” said von Storch. “We’re talking to them, saying, ‘Look, we’re not asking for your medical records, we’re only asking for proof of vaccination.'”

Even after addressing privacy concerns: “Some people will be voting with their pocketbooks, and we’re prepared for that.”

The coronavirus crisis has required business owners to make a series of choices, in trying to ensure both physical and financial well-being.

“I wouldn’t have made this decision six months ago,” von Storch said. “But every month, and every week, we learn information, and best practices, and we believe this is the best practice to keep our gyms open and our members healthy.”


More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

WTOP’s Scott Gelman contributed to this story.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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