Fitness facilities experience slow pandemic recovery

At this stage of the pandemic, restaurants and retail stores are among the businesses that have begun to rebound but fitness facilities are experiencing a slower recovery.

Summer is the slowest season in the fitness industry so despite restrictions loosening, gyms haven't been seeing as much activity.

"A lot of people are nervous, a lot of people are uncomfortable coming out, coming to a gym facility," says manager Brian Wilkie.

Gym member, Ken Naugle, is one of the few who maintained a workout regimen throughout the pandemic.

"Did quite a few things here spraying equipment, being socially distant and wearing a mask of course at all times," says Naugle.

The manager of World Gym, Brian Wilkie, says the facility can have a maximum of 70 people at once.

Nova Scotia will enter the final phase of its reopening plan when the province has 75 per cent of those eligible fully vaccinated, meaning no capacity restrictions.

"I'm excited to see what the fall and winter is going to do for us but I'm expecting to see bigger numbers," says Wilkie.

Instructors at Revolution Fitness have been holding virtual classes and say it isn't the same.

"It's just not the same for them or for us," says the gym's co-owner, Lisa Baldwin. "For us, teaching to a camera versus teaching to a group full of energetic people who are smiling back at you and you can see directly, while you are teaching, the benefits that they're getting and how much they're enjoying it. It's just an amazing feeling."

Baldwin says she's received government grants which will allow their business to start fresh this fall.

"We're going big, we're getting a brand new website, we're getting a new social media look, we're doing a renovation, we have three new instructors, you're doing a ton of new classes and we're just revamping our whole schedule," says Baldwin.

Their hope is it will be enough to recover from the pandemic that forced many to permanently close.