While some industries, such as travel and restaurants have slowly been allowed to reopen under strict lockdown regulations, fitness establishments are yet to be given the green light. Since the beginning of lockdown, several gyms have shut down, as they suffered economic losses.
There has still been no communication about when they will be allowed to reopen, and gyms are struggling. Approximately 80% of gyms across the country are expected to permanently close their doors as a result of lockdown, according to IOL.
Even some of the county’s top gyms, such as Planet Fitness, are struggling and may have to retrench employees. Chief Executive of Planet Fitness, Manny Rivera, told IOL that the industry is in desperate need of held from the government to avoid a total collapse.
“If we don’t open up soon, without the UIF the smaller independents will not be able to survive and major job losses will happen,” said Rivera, adding that “The independents will not have that type of muscle and we believe that 80% of the industry would have to close down. The Ters (Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme) UIF ended in June and there is therefore no support for the industry.”
Planet Fitness and Virgin Active have been pushing to get gyms reopened. Both establishments claim to be ready to open their doors, and hope to be given the green light to do so in July.
“Planet Fitness has to date not been given any concrete indication by government as to when we can open but are pushing hard to get government to agree to allow us to open during Advanced Level 3 or at least by the beginning of July,” said Gillian Elson, the head of marketing at Planet Fitness to IOL.
According to JSE-listed Growthpoint Properties, who has six gyms in their retail portfolio: “The reopening of gyms, however, is expected to be very slow”.
Despite this, both fitness establishments have planned safety and wellness measures, to ensure they are ready to open. “Until we have a date from the government and know what their requirements are, we are prepping for all possible scenarios,” said Virgin Active.
“Planet Fitness are ready to jump back into business and have been working around the clock to ensure that when we are given the green light from government that we are able to welcome our members back safely,” said the gym on their Facebook page.
Watch their CEO talk about the measures put in place here: