Pune: The global pandemic situation has forced a lot of small businesses into losses, the most affected are the salons, gyms, hotels, and other businesses associated with the service industry. The gym owners think that it is not fair for them to keep their business closed where people can improve their immunity.
“It is indeed incredibly sad that we have to close the shutters once again, just when we had opened them a few months back. Last year was a complete loss and now just when we have opened, the government calls for a lockdown. Gyms in fact are the safest place with all precautions in place. In the last two months, we have had no Covid positive cases at all of the members coming in for exercises. The lockdown is going to not just affect the business but also the health of the people. If people do not exercise, how will they gain immunity against such diseases,” said Shekhar Sable founder, director, of ABS fitness while talking to Hindustan Times (source Hindustan Times web portal).
ABS fitness stacked all their weights as soon as the lockdown announcement was made which are gradually hampering their balance sheet as no new member is enrolling and the old members are not willing to extend their membership, this is the situation for almost all the gyms in the city.
“Our sales have almost taken a dive into the valley, we have seen a dip of almost 55% dip in 2020 and 2021 where the new membership numbers are almost negligible, people are not sure of investing money into fitness as the lockdown is declared all of a sudden and their membership goes for a toss, Gyms are not in a position to refund the membership fees to their patrons,” says Amitosh Wanjari Sales head Gold’s Gym Bavdhan and Hinjewadi.
While Gyms like Nucleus fitness in Kharadi have taken their fitness classes online ask their patrons to join and continue their exercise routine online where their fitness trainers assist their members on group zoom meetings and help them achieve their daily fitness goals. This has helped the gym to retain its patrons and somehow manages to cut its losses.
Nilesh Kale, president of Pune fitness club association, while talking to Times of India said, “The situation of many gym owners is already bad as they have started losing business over the last few weeks. Another lockdown will destroy them. Several people, including fitness trainers, have lost their jobs as about 500 gyms in the city did not open after the last lockdown. If another lockdown takes place, many of us won’t be able to reopen gyms again.” (source TOI web portal).
Almost after 500 gyms had to permanently roll their shutters down many are left without jobs trainers, sales executives, housekeeping associates and others who were depended for their livelihood in this industry have now found themselves in grave economic crisis some trainers from renowned gym brands have now taken odd jobs such as delivery boys for food aggregators. While many lost their job those who are still working have salary cuts or have not received a salary of almost three now. While the gym owners claim to have been following all the SOP’s (Standard Operating Protocols) and guidelines given by the government still the fitness industry is the last to get into operation after the lockdown opens.
Many businesses that are directly dependent on the fitness industry such as fitness equipment manufacturers, nutrition supplement distributors, and retailers, even the large and small sports apparel and accessories retailers have encountered a significant dip in their balance sheet.
While we all hope for the situation to get better, the harsh reality of the time is that the Covid second wave is much stronger than what it was last year and to break the chain we need to follow the SOP’s (Standard Operating Protocols) and guidelines of the lockdown ‘Stay Home and Stay Safe’ is the war cry of the moment.