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The fitness industry is reeling from regulations imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic


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BOISE (KIVI) – Before the pandemic hit, Kvell Fitness & Nutrition was preparing to open their third facility in the Treasure Valley, now they are done to one location, and this local gym continues to lose money.

“Every single month, we have seen a decline in revenues, we have seen a decline in membership,” said Brett Denton, the owner of Kvell Fitness & Nutrition. “It has been challenging.”

On Monday, a new public health order takes effect requiring businesses to follow social distancing and sanitizing recommendations from Central District Health.

Failing to do so carries a penalty of losing their business license for ten days for the first offense, 20 for the second offense and a year for a third offense.

Central District Health has also issued a new advisory that requires gyms to reduce capacity by 50 percent.

We visited a class where people were spaced out more than six-feet for social distancing purposes.

“For gym business models, we can’t operate at 50 percent capacity. That means we are not making any money,” said Denton.

As we enter the holiday seasons with Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years’ right around the corner, a time where people typically try to work out to keep the holiday pounds off, plus many people turn to fitness at the start of every new year.

“When you look at what a gym, it really is a place to get healthy in all those different aspects of mental, physical, emotional and social,” said Denton. “I think for the most part, for most people working out is really hard, it is really hard to do on your own and it’s really hard when you don’t know what you are doing.”

So what options do people have? I attempted to build a gym in my garage in case the pandemic continues to get worse forcing another lockdown.

But I found out that not only is gym equipment costly, it is also hard to find because of the pandemic.

“We have sold out of dumbbells, plates, bars and racks numerous times,” said Michelle Spindler of Gym Outfitters Inc. “Just getting the inventory has proven to be exceptionally challenging with pro-longed lead times from manufacturers.”

Gym Outfitters has adapted its business model from selling equipment to gyms, hotels and collegiate weight rooms to supplying people with equipment for their own home gym.

“So we’ve really focused on increasing our inventory to try and meet that demand so we can help people within our to achieve their health and fitness goals,” said Spindler. “I like to think we’ve been able to help a lot of people.”

But to work out at home, people need to know what they are doing, get the equipment they need, but it is also really hard to work out by yourself and stay motivated.

“I think humans need that we are social creatures, and a gym is a place you can go to escape everything else,” said Denton.

So the question becomes when this pandemic finally ends, how many local gyms and fitness studios will still be standing?

“For us, it is can we get enough people in to keep the doors open,” said Denton.

Kvell Fitness and several other gyms have implemented virtual classes to help members, but Denton also says that it also takes away the social aspect of working out.

We know of two yoga studios that have already closed their doors for good during the pandemic.