San Diego County's fitness industry continues to struggle

Posted at 6:09 AM, Oct 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-06 09:09:30-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- While San Diego County remains in the red tier of California’s tiered reopening plan, many local gyms and fitness centers continue to struggle to operate at 10 percent capacity.

For some, it’s just not enough to survive, and business owners have to make difficult decisions.

“Our rent doesn’t change whether we have one person in class versus 25,” said Taylor Hollenkamp, owner of BarreBody Studios in Pacific Beach and Tierrasanta.

Days ago, Hollenkamp sent a notice out to members of BarreBody Studios, announcing the fitness studio would be closing after nearly a decade in business.

“With no end in sight of things going back to normal, I had to make the decision to close permanently because the business is just hemorrhaging money,” she said.

Others in the San Diego fitness industry can relate to the pain Hollenkamp is experiencing.

“You can’t run a business, you can’t advertise, you can’t bring in new clients,” said Matt Ceglie, a personal trainer, and co-creator of the Strongist app, which allows users to track and log workouts.

He said he has not been able to train any of his clients in a private Carmel Valley gym since March.

“I had about 25 clients that I worked with on a weekly basis, now I train about nine of those clients in their homes or remotely,” said Ceglie. “It’s almost impossible right now in the tier we’re in to run your gym at 10 percent capacity.”

When it comes to California’s reopening tiers, San Diego is currently in the red tier, allowing gyms and fitness centers to operate at 10 percent capacity.

If San Diego County’s COVID-19 numbers improve and we move to the orange tier, they could open inside at 25 percent capacity. In the yellow tier, which is considered the best, it’s 50 percent capacity.

With no exact solutions to the loss of income or path to a full reopening, more small business owners have to say goodbye to the dreams they worked hard to make a reality.

“I’ve been building this business for 25 years, and it goes away just like that,” said Ceglie.

“I was so passionate about the fitness industry, and this has just caused such a heartache for me and so much stress that it’s not fun for me anymore,” said Hollenkamp. “This has been my career, and I don’t know what I’m going to do after this.”