Pamela Bennett, owner of a fitness studio in the Atlanta area, moved some of her Zumba and cycling classes to the parking lot months after coronavirus restrictions in March prevented indoor workouts in Georgia. She enlisted a DJ to play dance songs to get members in the workout mood during a Labor Day block party.
But her efforts haven’t offset an 80% loss in revenue during the pandemic.
“Covid happened and it knocked the wind out of me,” Ms. Bennett said.
The fitness industry has been hit hard during the pandemic because of restrictions on group exercise and clients’ concerns about returning to gyms, which have prompted people to seek streaming options and equipment for workouts at home. Several corporate fitness chains have filed for bankruptcy while many mom-and-pop boutiques have permanently closed.
Smaller operators especially have faced acute financial challenges amid ever-changing restrictions, with some questioning whether their business models, including rent for bricks-and-mortar locations, remain feasible in a world changed by Covid-19.