- Title: 'The gym to us is essential' - fitness buffs make case for keeping NY clubs open
- Date: 23rd November 2020
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (English) 24 HOUR FITNESS, GENERAL MANAGER OF SCARSDALE LOCATION, GREG VEGA, SAYING: "I think the industry as a whole took a bit of a hit, but I also think that as an industry we got innovative and all of these virtual platforms just came to life. So, I think it was almost good for our business." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WORKING OUT NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (NOVEMBER 23, 2020) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) TRIANGLE CAPITAL PARTNER, RICHARD KESTENBAUM, SAYING: "The shutdowns and the lockouts for the fitness industry are really a question of who has more cash to withstand it. The companies that can withstand it, can survive, and those that have more debt or less cash, can't. But one of the important things to keep in mind here is we all have an image of a treadmill in a person's home that winds up getting used as a clothing holder or a silent butler. That's probably not going to change. And so all this equipment that people have bought at home for the pandemic, some people may continue to use it after the pandemic is over and the fitness facilities reopen. But most likely the trend towards wanting to be in facilities to exercise is probably not going to change. There's a certain element of socialization, of obligation to a place, to a group, to a personal instructor that people like to keep. And that probably won't change." SCARSDALE, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (NOVEMBER 23, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF 24 HOUR FITNESS GYM EXTERIOR
- Embargoed: 7th December 2020 20:46
- Keywords: COVID-19 Richard Kestenbaum Triangle Capital coronavirus exercise fit fitness gyms losing weight pandemic stay in shape
- Location: SCARSDALE, + NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
- City: SCARSDALE, + NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Living/Lifestyle,Society/Social Issues,United States
- Reuters ID: LVA003D5SH93B
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Members of the 24 Hour Fitness club in Scarsdale, NY, a 17,000-resident town just over 20 miles north of New York City, made a case for their gym to stay open as the state's governor, Andrew Cuomo, warned that he was putting additional restrictions on businesses in parts of Manhattan, Staten Island, and Long Island due to rising COVID-19 infections.
Ama Sakyi, who works out five times a week, said she was ready to join a protest if the governor closes her gym.
"If supermarket opens, the gym must open," said Sakyi, who works as a nurse and said she needs to exercise to release the stress of working in the pandemic. "The gym to us is essential, OK? People are thinking that, 'oh, you just have to be healthy, you know, as a person, physical. Mental health is also very important. Without the mind, the body cannot function, right?"
Another member, Ervis Tatag, said the gym not only supplied equipment, but also companionship of fellow athletes.
"I mean, throughout the pandemic it was really difficult to stay at home," Tatag said. "We all need to get out a little bit more, exercise. And I think being able to come here really, really helps us with that."
The Northeast, which for months had maintained low COVID-19 infection rates after being the epicenter of the pandemic in the spring, has experienced the highest percentage jump in hospitalizations at 85% over the past 14 days, according to Reuters data.
During that same period, hospitalizations in the Midwest have risen 57%, in the West by 50%, and in the South by 34%.
New York City's public school system, the nation's largest, halted in-class instruction due to rising infection rates just weeks after allowing its 1.1 million students back into classrooms on a part-time basis.
Mayor Bill de Blasio defended his decision to close the schools as a necessary but temporary measure, and said he expects the state to shut down indoor restaurant dining and gyms in the city "within a week or two" given rising infection rates.
"It's worrisome, but, you know, I believe in our governor," said Greg Vega, the manager of the 24 Hour Fitness location in Scarsdale. "I believe that he does the right thing by all of us. You know, we just have to roll with the punches and hope for the best."
Vega said that many gyms are now betting on their online offerings, launching workout apps and websites.
But Triangle Capital's Richard Kestenbaum, an investment banker with interests in fitness industry, said the technology helps but it won't replace physical locations.
"The shutdowns for the fitness industry are really a question of who has more cash to withstand it," said Kestenbaum. "There's a certain element of socialization, of obligation to a place, to a group, to a personal instructor that people like to keep. And that probably won't change."
The U.S. Gym, Health & Fitness Clubs industry was worth $32.5 billion in 2020 measured by revenue, according to a research company IBISWorld.
(Production: Hussein Waaile, Aleksandra Michalska)
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