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Peloton suspends live classes after an employee tested positive for COVID-19

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Studios in New York and London will close until April 30th

An empty Peloton studio with several of its bikes Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Peloton has announced that it will stop producing and airing live cycling and running classes until April 30th after an employee tested positive for COVID-19 late last week. The company originally planned to reopen its studios on Tuesday, April 7th, taking the weekend to deep clean its facilities.

“We have 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,” the company wrote in an email to subscribers. In the live classes’ place, the company will air pre-recorded classes as an “Encore” session that allows members to take a class during a specific time of the day and still race other members on a digital leaderboard. “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.”

After the state of New York ordered nonessential businesses to close in mid-March, Peloton continued broadcasting live classes with a “skeleton crew” of just the instructor, production assistant, and cleaning member through the end of last week. (The company said it had gotten approval to continue operating as an essential business.) At-home users were able to stream those classes from their Peloton bike, treadmill, or through an app to use with their own equipment. The decision to host live classes had been met with mixed reactions by Peloton members. Some users say they appreciate having live content to work out to while they are stuck at home, and say those classes are helpful for their emotional health. Others have urged the company to stop filming entirely to protect the health of employees, especially since the headquarters was based in New York City, which currently has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States.

In addition to pausing live classes until the end of April, Peloton also announced that it would pledge $1 million to cover two months of content subscription — a $78 value, plus tax — for those who have trouble paying the monthly payments for their Peloton bike or treadmill. Those who have experienced unexpected financial hardship can apply to have their subscription fees waived here, though the company says coverage is not guaranteed.