Fitness centers struggle during COVID

Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 6:46 PM EDT
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - Governor Phil Scott gave the OK for fitness centers to reopen June 1, 2020, just about four months ago.

“We have a fair number of members who absolutely, day one, June first, were really excited to come back into the gym. But unfortunately, many people are not comfortable re-entering," said Tammy Campbell Landon, the owner and manager of The Gymnasium in Rutland.

At her gym, membership is down by about 35%. She says it’s a struggle, but they have found ways to keep distance between members and offer Zoom classes.

That comfort level is something Daniel Doenges, the owner of Vermont Sport and Fitness in Rutland, is also seeing.

“We’re seeing that they’re getting more and more comfortable with each step. Coming in that first time, but then seeing all of the precautions we have taken, seeing the health and numbers improve in the region," said Doenges.

Many people sign up for gym memberships during the colder months when they can’t get outside as easily.

“The fall and winter will be interesting. We certainly need things to improve and continue on the trend, or at least stabilize really well," Doenges said.

But not everyone has seen a dip in membership. Sean Manovill, the owner of Club Fitness in Rutland and Castleton, is the gym owner who re-opened against the governor’s orders. He says economically, they are doing fantastic.

“The people who feel as though they are not at risk are comfortable coming to the gym and that is something they are choosing to do," said Manovill.

Some of Manovill’s older clientele have not returned, changing the demographics of the gym that is known to be friendly to the 55+ age bracket.

But, all gyms in the Rutland area are staying positive.

“We’re here, we’re absolutely going to be here, and figure this out and hopefully people will gain more and more confidence coming back into the gym," said Campbell Landon.

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