Arizona Gym Industry Bracing For Rough Start To 2021

Published: Monday, January 4, 2021 - 5:54am

New year, new you! Or, at least that’s how most of our resolutions go each year, especially when it comes to a commitment to getting in shape.

But the pandemic means that well-intentioned gym membership may not be on the January to-do list in 2021 and as a result, the gym industry is bracing for a rough start.

Arizona’s gyms and health clubs should be making big money right now but with COVID-19 continuing to spread, restrictions are still in place for most health clubs — limiting capacity to 25%. And, few, if any gyms in the state are even reaching that 25%, according to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, which tracks health clubs nationwide.

For Arizona, that means a poor start to a new year for an industry that employs more than 26,000in the state, paying $177 million in wages and benefits annually.

Arizonans, like many Americans, are concerned over safety and sufficient social distancing, and this year's get-in-shape new year’s resolution is not expected to attract new members to the gym.

The association reported a 38% drop in revenue for gyms at the end of September and already forecasted that one of every four gyms would be closed by the end of 2020. A longer-term concern for the fitness business is that consumers are finding ways to exercise at home and may choose to keep it that permanently, if and when gyms return to regular operations.

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