Over the past decade, New Jersey saw an explosion of gyms opening and gym membership. That may all change due to the novel coronavirus and the shutdown of gyms in the state.

Private personal training is allowed, but general membership gyms remain off-limits and locked. Some have tried to reopen in defiance of Gov. Phil Murphy's executive order and have been dealt with severely, as is the case of Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, Camden County. Some have opened quietly and I know of at least two that are secretly open on a pay-as-you-go basis. They're kind of like speakeasies, where you have to know someone and entry is very discreet.

Gyms and more exclusive spas have almost become the club scene of the last decade, but now they face a grim future as 70% of people polled believe they don't need a gym membership to stay in shape. Sixty percent of people surveyed recently said they think shared gyms will never return. As many as 63% of people say they've gotten in better shape at home over the last few months. More than 50% say they plan to cancel their gym memberships sometime soon.

Prior to the COVID-19 restrictions, there were 1,232 health clubs in New Jersey with more than 50,000 health club employees with over $336 million in total payroll benefits. That's a lot of people employed in what was a strong and growing industry nationwide and particularly in the Garden State. Many people point to the small mom and pop shops and restaurants that might not be coming back. Unfortunately your neighborhood gym and even the big ones might be going with them.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis' own.

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