Showing: 1 - 3 of 3 RESULTS

As pandemic restrictions on indoor shopping ease, mall owners sue to stop another shutdown

ARCADIA, CA - OCTOBER 07, 2020 - Shoppers walk past a "Sanitize on the Go," station to keep shoppers safe from coronavirus at the Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall in Arcadia on October 7, 2020. This is the first day customers return to indoor shopping after Los Angeles County eases restrictions and have reopened the malls and the individual stores. Such stores have been closed for weeks, but reopened Wednesday at 25% capacity. Westfield Santa Anita has placed Covid-related signage with one-way traffic, 6 feet distancing when waiting to get into individual stores, hand sanitizing stations and mask are required before entering the mall. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Shoppers walk past a “Sanitize on the Go,” station at the Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall in Arcadia. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Indoor shopping centers opened Wednesday as Los Angeles County officials eased pandemic-related restrictions on businesses, but one of the biggest mall operators in the region is suing to stop the county from shutting down centers again.

The owners of Westfield-branded malls, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, filed a proposed class action lawsuit against the county in late September that called for the county to lift prohibitions it called “unlawful and unjustifiable” in part because they are targeted at indoor centers, which were then mostly closed.

Although the county gave the green light to indoor mall stores operating with limits on the number of customers who can be inside, Westfield is suing in federal court to stop officials from repeatedly opening and closing stores to blunt the impact of the pandemic.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has likened such openings and closings of businesses to a dimmer switch that the state can raise or lower in relation to the transmission of COVID-19. When fewer new cases are diagnosed, restrictions on occupancy of stores, restaurants and other businesses will be loosened. If more people get sick, restrictions will retighten.

En Route Institute book store opens as customers return to indoor shopping at Westfield Santa Anita.
Frank Capurro opens the En Route Institute bookstore as customers return to indoor shopping at the Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall in Arcadia on Oct. 7. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County has lagged behind other parts of California in reopening businesses because of its continued high numbers of new cases and deaths. But on Wednesday, “nonessential” stores in indoor shopping centers reopened with limited capacity for the first time since July.

Westfield and the owner of Del Amo Fashion Center, a regional indoor mall in Torrance, have both filed lawsuits intended to stop the county from effectively shutting down their shopping centers as a coronavirus prevention measure. Merchants including a sports apparel seller and a children’s clothing boutique operator have joined the lawsuits.

The county has not commented on the litigation, but its public information office said in a statement last month that the county “has been intensely committed to protecting the health and safety of its residents through an unprecedented crisis using science and data and responding in real time to a deadly and previously unknown virus that has tragically claimed thousands of lives and upended life for millions of people.”

County officials continue “to assess the data, the science and the state guidelines to safely guide the reopening” of local businesses, the statement said.

Jean-Marie Tritant, president of U.S. operations, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield
Jean-Marie Tritant, president of U.S. operations, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield)

In an interview with The Times, Jean-Marie Tritant, president of U.S. operations for Paris-based Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, discussed his company’s litigation and efforts to conduct business prudently during the pandemic. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Your company has been in discussions with state and local officials since the early days of the pandemic about how to operate safely in a dangerous time. What

California Fitness Chain Explores Options to Ease Debt After Virus Shuts Gyms

(Bloomberg) — In-Shape Health Clubs is exploring strategic options including a debt restructuring, raising capital or a potential sale as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on gym operators, according to people with knowledge of the matter.



A person disinfects dumbbells at a gym.


© Bloomberg
A person disinfects dumbbells at a gym.

The California fitness chain, which laid off the majority of its employees in March, is working with an adviser as it considers alternatives after the coronavirus caused it to shut more than 60 locations, said one of the people. They asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

Loading...

Load Error

The company, which has been reopening some of its fitness centers, has been owned since 2013 by Fremont Private Holdings, an arm of the San Francisco-based private investment office for the Bechtel family, and Pulse Equity Partners LLC.

Representatives for In-Shape and Pulse declined to comment, while a Fremont representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Starved of revenue amid government restrictions intended to fight the pandemic, U.S. fitness chains have fallen into distress. Several have filed for bankruptcy, including 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide, Gold’s Gym International and Town Sports International LLC, the owner of the New York Sports Clubs and Lucille Roberts.

Debt Pile

In-Shape has about $70 million in debt, split across a $17 million revolving credit facility and a $53 million first-lien term loan, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The company traces its roots to 1981, when a single racquetball club in Stockton, California, was turned into a full-service health club. Before the pandemic, the chain had grown to more than 60 clubs in California, offering swimming, tennis, basketball and other activities, according to the company’s website.

Earlier this month, the California Fitness Alliance — which In-Shape is part of — said it filed legal action in Los Angeles County Superior Court seeking to restore “reasonable” access to indoor fitness, citing benefits to physical and mental health.

“We created strict guidelines to ensure public safety when exercising indoors, so Californians could receive the health benefits associated with exercise and help expand the fight against Covid-19,” Francesca Schuler, Chief Executive Officer of In-Shape Health Clubs, said at the time. “When the state briefly reopened, these protocols worked.”

Schuler cited a CFA study showing that of the more than 5.5 million members who checked into 785 fitness centers between June 12 and July 13, only 0.002% tested positive for the virus, with no cases reported as a result from visits to fitness centers.

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Continue Reading

Source Article

More U.S. Women Using Marijuana to Help Ease Menopause: Study | Health News

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay)

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 30, 2020 (HealthDay News) — A growing number of middle-aged women are turning to marijuana to help soothe symptoms of menopause, new research indicates.

About one-third of older female U.S. veterans said they had either tried to treat their menopause symptoms with cannabis products or planned to experiment with marijuana in the future, according to results presented this week at the virtual annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society.

“These findings suggest that cannabis use for menopause symptom management is common, raising questions about the symptoms being targeted, and if this approach is helpful or harmful,” said lead investigator Carolyn Gibson. She’s a psychologist and health services researcher with the San Francisco VA Health Care System.

About 27% of 232 female veterans reported that they either currently or in the past had used cannabis products to treat their menopause, and another 10% said they planned to try it in the future, the researchers found. The average age of the veterans surveyed was around 56.

Marijuana actually was more popular among these women than traditional forms of menopause treatment. Only 19% of the women said they’d tried the usual methods of easing their menopause symptoms.

The tendency to prefer pot over traditional medicine is “alarming,” said Dr. Stephanie Faubion, medical director of the North American Menopause Society.

Faubion added that there are traditional, mainstream treatments for menopause that have some evidence backing their use, but that the same does not hold true for marijuana.

Gibson noted that her findings did not specify the types of marijuana products being used by the women. They could be trying anything from cannabidiol (CBD) oil to marijuana edibles to actually smoking pot.

Cannabis use was more commonly reported among women suffering from hot flashes (67%) and night sweats (68%) within the past two weeks, the results showed.

It’s possible women are trying marijuana because of the wave of legalization that’s swept the United States, Gibson said.

“It’s become mainstream, more widely available, more marketed potentially toward women during this period in their lives,” Gibson said. “That might be part of it.”

The potential for pot to help ease symptoms also might be a driving factor, although Gibson hastened to note that there’s been no research showing that cannabis can help with menopause.

“It may be that cannabis use can be relaxing and help with things like anxiety and sleep, and that would have an impact on sleeplessness and anxiety or mood changes during menopause,” Gibson said. She noted that hot flashes and other menopause symptoms have been linked to sleep and anxiety.

The fact that these U.S. veterans are trying marijuana could indicate that pot use among menopausal women is even more widespread than previously thought, Gibson said.

“It is possible that veterans getting care in the VA health care system may be less likely than non-veterans to use cannabis, given that it is considered illegal by federal guidelines in the VA regardless of state laws,”