How COVID-19 has affected the gym industry

Vaishnavi Gupta
Vaishnavi Gupta Mar 23 2020 - 3 min read
How COVID-19 has affected the gym industry
On March 16, 2020, all the gyms had to shut down as per government directive.

Going out to gyms has now become a necessity for some people. If you’re a gym freak then you might know how it feels like to miss one session or class at the gym. However, it is also said that when you are sick, it is best advised if you give the gym class a miss as there is a higher risk of infection spread.

In light of the recent health crisis owing to the rapid spread of Coronavirus, there has been a closure of a lot of business and postponements of various plans. People are asked to work from home and self-quarantine adversaries are being issued to stop the spread of infection across towns globally.

On March 16, 2020, all the gyms had to shut down as per government directive. With heavy breathing, close contact, crowded spaces, and frequently-touched equipment, the gym might seem like a minefield for coronavirus infection. Experts have said that gyms can be one of the dirtiest places you can go to, and considering the number of pieces of equipment and spaces there are, there is an excruciatingly high risk of the infection passing on from one individual to another. 

Due to this, many gyms chains like Vivafit India have to close their operations and face various challenges.

Challenges Faced

As the Coronavirus got declared as a pandemic by the WHO, gym owners had already started advising its staff and members to take extra precautions. They had formed strict guidelines for hand washing and cleaning the gym equipment after every workout. 

The gym owners also issued a request for anyone who had traveled abroad to stay at home for a few days and it shows up at the gym immediately. 

However, on March 16, 2020, all the gyms had to shut down as per government directive. 

In addition to the loss of business, gym owners are also unsure about the future. Gyms’ overheads are met by the membership sales that they do on a month on month basis. It’s literally hand to mouth for its franchisees as well as company run centres. 

With March sales now on a halt, they have no other means of paying the bills such as rent, electricity, and salaries. 

Effect on Gym Members

Apart from business loss, members having to stay home and missing the workout sessions is another challenge.

However, the day gyms got shut down, many of them uploaded videos of all workouts on their YouTube channel. Gym members have appreciated the gesture and are very supportive.

Some gyms are also planning to live-stream classes every day.

Manisha Ahlawat, MD of Vivafit India, said, “We have been conducting staff training and meetings on Zoom for the last two years and we feel this way we can keep delivering classes to the existing members. However, any new sales are out of the question until we are ready to reopen.”

Suggestions for Future

Manisha has said that the government can give some relief to small businesses like gyms. Here are a few suggestions mentioned by her:

1. Waive off GST on fitness services 

2. Subsidise utility bills for a year

3. Rental income up to 50 lac per annum should be tax-free so the landlords can pass the benefit to tenants

4. Give income tax waiver to the huge earning middle class so they have more disposable income to spend on retail and services

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