NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Many businesses have taken a hit because of the pandemic, including gyms. As some businesses are starting to see people return, will gyms also?

With the COVID-19 vaccine now available, what does that mean for people returning to the gym? One study showed that across the country 35 percent of people say they won’t return after being vaccinated.

Right here in Tennessee that number is 30 percent.

Jan Rubins, general manager of Sports Village Fitness in Lebanon, says they’ve been seeing their clients returning.

“We are seeing a lot of people in the past who put their membership on a freeze or have cancelled that are now starting to come back, either because they understand the importance of staying fit, they’ve gotten their shots or at least one of them,” he said.

Nicholas Rizzo, Fitness Research director with RunRepeat, says it seems people are hopeful about returning.

The study by RunRepeat shows about 28 percent of gym members across the country plan to return to the gym after their family and friends are vaccinated.

“31.63 percent in the US have cancelled their membership with another 15 percent currently having their membership paused,” Rizzo said. “All that is a direct loss of the overarching revenue that these gyms are producing.”

Management at Sports Village Fitness says they did lose membership last year, but fortunately aren’t seeing too much of a decline.

“Other clubs have experienced that,” Rubins said. “Our hearts go out to them, but we’re really happy with the amount of people coming on a regular basis and the new members that are coming in too.

“When it comes to the number of people that are actively back in their gyms in Tennessee, right now it’s almost half,” Rizzo said. “So it’s the second highest of any state where 46 percent were back at our gyms.” 

Rizzo says gyms finding ways to adapt is key to staying afloat and members returning after being vaccinated.

“That means gyms have another three to six months they’re going to have to sustain, find better solutions to meet their members and be the ones that earn that reward at the end of the pandemic that people are coming back,” he said.

Rubins says Sports Village Fitness has adapted to serve the community during the pandemic.

“We have spray bottles for members to wipe down their equipment before and after, we have the partitions between our cardio,” she said. “We like to make money, but we want to serve the community, we want to serve the membership base and make sure they’re healthy.”

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