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Fitness industry leaders fear 1 in 5 Michigan gyms will close by 2022

Fitness centers hit hard by coronavirus pandemic restrictions, shutdowns

The coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on nearly every industry, and one of the hardest-hit has been in-person fitness centers.

Since the onset of the pandemic, a number of Michigan gyms have struggled to reopen -- particularly due to drops in membership and, of course, the summer’s back-and-forth legal battle with the state.

Leaders of the Michigan Fitness Club Association (MFCA) say fitness centers are in rough shape. Officials believe it is likely that one in five gyms across the state will have to close by 2022.

“We’re dealing with things -- with information and data and reporting on the impact of COVID -- almost on a daily basis,” said Bryan Rief, president of the association.

According to the MFCA, before the pandemic there were roughly 1,000 fitness clubs statewide. Based on national projections, by 2022 -- when experts hope vaccines are widely available or already distributed -- 200 gyms or fitness clubs will have been forced to close for good. For those that have stayed open, membership has dropped by almost 50 percent for some gyms. The fear of the coronavirus has pushed people to pause or cancel their memberships, leaving gyms to hang on tight to those left.

There has also been a shift to at-home and online fitness courses amid the pandemic. However, the MFCA says that shift doesn’t mean their physical centers are going anywhere.

“There’s no reason to assume that brick and mortar will be supplanted by online fitness,” Rief said. “Our gyms have always been and will continue to be part of the health and wellness delivery system, and they are vital in that.”

There is some good news: Coronavirus case rates connected to gyms are fairly low. The MFCA says case-to-visit rates are less than one percent. The state’s shows only two outbreaks currently related to personal care businesses, which includes hair and nail salons, spas and gyms.

Watch the full report in the video player above.


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