Gym chain New York Sports Clubs has filed for bankruptcy, a sign of the toll the pandemic has taken on the business. More and more people work out at home, mostly for safety. While this has helped companies like Peloton Interactive, which makes bikes for personal use, it means public gyms have become a wasteland.
Gyms are like restaurants because both face social distancing measures that are nearly impossible to put in place without reducing the number of people who can be in a space by three-quarters. Gym equipment also needs to be cleaned after each use, a labor-intensive process. While restaurants have gotten a modest reprieve due to warm weather that allows outdoor dining, that will change as the season changes, particularly in the northern tier of states. Many restauranteurs say that a return to indoor dining with social distancing will ruin their prospects.
The gym news shows that parts of the economy cannot rebound as long as there is a pandemic. Many gyms will never reopen because they do not have the capital to ride out what may be months before they can fully open. COVID-19’s world-changing effects will crater another industry.