Gyms, health clubs and workout studios began reopening in late spring following government-ordered shutdowns aimed at halting the coronavirus spread. But most are only allowed to have a fraction of their regular clientele onsite at one time. And some clients are staying away for fear of catching the virus.
The International Health Racquet & Sportsclub Association, an industry group, estimates that gyms, health and fitness clubs lost an aggregate $13.9 billion during shutdowns as of Aug. 31. The group warns that without government help, at least a quarter could close by Dec. 31 as limits on indoor workouts continue.
Michael Hanover is lucky if he gets 45 client hours a week in his Northbrook, Illinois gym, Fitness Hero Wellness Center, down from his usual 60. He sometimes opens at 5 a.m. or stays late at night to get those hours; many clients are too uneasy to come in when other people are there.
“We don’t have people pounding on the door trying to get in,” Hanover says.
In Illinois, gyms currently can operate at 50% of capacity, leaving Hanover with no more than 10 people onsite at any time. He feels small gyms have been lumped in unfairly with big fitness chains where there might be hundreds of people exercising at once and coming into contact with one another. He’d like to be able to bring in more clients.
Hanover’s big worry: A surge in cases that might prompt officials to force gyms to go back to holding only outdoor classes and one-on-one training sessions indoors.
“It will be devastating and most likely, the end of Fitness Hero Wellness Center,” Hanover says.
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