Gyms freeze membership fees during MCO

The health and fitness industry has taken a big hit from the MCO as fitness centres and studios are not permitted to operate

by HARIZAH KAMEL/ pic credit: celebrityfitness.com.my

MOST gyms nationwide have temporarily closed and frozen its memberships since the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) in March.

Celebrity Fitness, CHi Fitness, Fitness First and GoFit Malaysia MD Andrew Phillips said members are not required to pay their membership fees during the MCO period as they have put all memberships on hold.

He is referring to members of Celebrity Fitness, Fitness First and CHi Fitness — all sister brands under the parent company Evolution Wellness Holdings Asia.

Phillips said the health and fitness industry in Malaysia has taken a big hit from the MCO as fitness centres and studios are not permitted to operate. Profitability and revenue streams are affected which in turn impacts business stability.

“The longer the MCO goes on, the more severe the impact can be for any business that is unable to operate in general. Gyms are no different,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) recently.

He also said they foresee that even after the MCO ends, Malaysians will still carry a certain degree of uncertainty and fear especially for confined spaces, such as fitness facilities.

“While we have always placed high emphasis on cleanliness, we acknowledge that it’s now even more important than ever. We had already implemented a number of health and safety initiatives at the start of the year to mitigate the health risks surrounding Covid-19 in our clubs, and will continue to do so upon reopening.”

He stated that aside from the standard regular temperature checks, they will also be introducing a new set of preventive measures including hygiene practices and gym etiquette especially on social distancing within the gym space in accordance with the Health Ministry’s guidelines.

“We are committed to guiding our members and staff through what we deem as ‘a new normal’. While it’s important to keep active and exercise 30 minutes daily to boost our immune system, it’s equally important to practise collective social responsibility, be mindful and protect each other’s health and safety during these unprecedented times,” said Phillips.

When asked how the gyms survive during the MCO, he said they are finding alternative and innovative ways to keep their members and followers active.

“We’ve had to depend heavily on our online channels to deliver our workout experiences by streaming ‘Live Workout’ and sharing ‘Home Workout’ guides on our social media and digital platforms, all of which are available for free,” he said.

He added that they have also been able to tap into their regional network to cross share workout content.

This includes workouts from their Celebrity Fitness and Fitness First family in Asia, and from sister brands namely boutique-style workouts from Fire Fitness and mind and body practices from Fivelements.

Celebrity Fitness, CHi Fitness and Fitness First each bring a distinctive and unique fitness experience including their own set of signature programmes which suits the different needs of their members.

Fitness enthusiast Ahmad Syahmi Naim Mohd said he feels low-spirited for not being able to go to the gym during this period as his daily routine is to spend around two to three hours at the gym after work.

“I have a membership at three different gyms (Celebrity Fitness, Fitness First and Anytime Fitness) because I love working out at more than one place. So, I rotate my time going to different gyms depending on my mood,” he told TMR.

He added that with the Covid-19 crisis still raging, he fears going to the gym, even after the MCO is lifted.