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NZ fitness centres back to 70 percent activity levels - survey

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New Zealand gyms and facilities were back to 70 percent activity levels within two weeks of re-opening at covid level two according to the latest survey ExerciseNZ survey, chief executive Richard Beddie says.

The nationwide study post-covid showed the number of new people keen to stay physical active at facilities was higher than many expected.

But Beddie says trainers have been hit harder than gyms, with many reporting around barely 50 to 60 percent pre-covid income, Beddie says.

"While 70 percent is a solid start, it’s not enough for most facilities and gyms to survive as they have very high fixed business costs. A downturn of 30 percent is not sustainable for long, so all exercise facilities will be exploring options over the coming months on how to stay viable.

"The biggest challenges for gyms are their commercial leases, with almost 50 percent of landlords refusing to have meaningful engagement with tenants.

"While the government has made a positive step in this direction, it doesn't go far enough and it is limited to smaller workplaces. Large businesses don't have magic pots of money - the support should apply to all businesses in our view.

"City centre gyms have been hit harder than suburban gyms due to the 40 percent of kiwis that are still working from home during some or all of their working week.

"The exercise industry has proven itself relatively robust through economic downturns. It grew around one percent through the global financial crisis, even though the New Zealand economy shrunk.

"But post-covid will be the biggest challenge to the industry since it first started in the 1960s. The full effects of the economic impacts of covid-19 are yet to hit many businesses.

"We expect the unemployment rate and hence gym memberships to see the full effects over the next three to six months," Beddie says.

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