However, there will likely be competition for such gym-friendly venues. With health and fitness at the forefront on the minds of many, rival PureGym, the UK’s biggest chain, has also signaled that it is also planning an assault across the UK, having already opened 15 sites during the first half of the year. More than a dozen others are mentioned for the second half.
“We continue to see very good opportunities,” Darwin retorts. “This money that we have raised will allow us to accelerate and really increase our market share as a percentage of the market at a low cost by doing so.”
This is a situation in which, last year, many feared that gym groups would not find themselves. When the first lockdown was lifted, pubs and restaurants were allowed to open first. However, following industry pressure, gyms in subsequent closings have overtaken hospitality. “It was actually a great success for the industry to be able to really persuade the government on this.”
It’s because of this, Darwin says, that he thinks gyms have avoided the strain on vaccine passports that nightclubs now face.
The requirement for double vaccination in clubs is a policy which, taken as a whole, has generated a great deal of skepticism. Still, some may consider the idea of a busy dance class in a gym and wonder why similar rules don’t apply to them.
“At the end of the day, gyms are incredibly safe environments,” Darwin retorts. A ventilation kit was brought in to replace the air every 45 minutes. Gyms, he argues, are large, airy spaces. “Obviously the government doesn’t think it’s necessary. That’s why they don’t talk about it for gyms.
As gyms train to return to profitability, attracting back office workers and students, Darwin has to hope that the full brunt of the lockdown will never return.