What Does Joe Biden’s Win Mean for the Fitness Industry?

Nov 13, 2020 - 4 min read
What is Biden impact on the fitness industry

President-elect Joe Biden has taken a slightly more informed route in his plan to combat the coronavirus compared to Donald Trump. In fact, the current POTUS went as far as to seemingly oppose his own administration’s policies, which led to much speculation regarding the country’s economy.

For business owners – and specifically, gym, fitness clubs, and studios – Trump’s lackadaisical approach towards the lockdown only reinforced the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. But, what will the fitness industry look like under Joe Biden?

Will Biden try to avoid a total shutdown, as is mentioned on his website? Or, will he opt for a nationwide lockdown to get the virus under control, as his COVID advisor is suggesting? To avoid jumping the gun, let’s break down the facts surrounding reopening, and what a Biden-Harris administration means for the future of the fitness industry; based only on credible sources.

“We’re not shutting down the country, we’re shutting down the virus”

Biden has been a strong proponent of a short and effective shutdown since March. During the Presidential Debate, he stressed that he would not rule out more shutdowns if it meant that the economy would bounce back faster than with partial shutdowns.

Trump, on the other hand, stated at the debate that it should be business as usual, as “we’re learning to live with” COVID-19. In a case where it looks to be either one or the other, Dr. Michael Osterholm, coronavirus advisor to Joe Biden, has stepped in to advocate a four-to-six-week shutdown with wages paid.

For the fitness industry, this means closed doors and loss of client hours. Will this lead to more members ending contracts? We don’t know, but regardless, we should be prepared to expect a loss of client engagement and revenue.

What you do during the shutdown matters too. Don’t allow engagement rates to drop with client hours; find ways to keep your members engaged from afar. Livestream classes and online workout videos are the perfect tools to engage with your fitness community . Also, take this opportunity to build your brand up and promote your business on social media.

Joe Biden’s eight-part COVID-19 plan avoids shutdowns

On his campaign website, Biden and his 13-member COVID advisory board lay bare their plan to combat the coronavirus spread in the US. No part of the plan mentions a national lockdown.

This isn’t synonymous with anti-lockdown rhetoric – on the contrary, Biden has reiterated time and time again that he will follow the science and do what is necessary to ensure that the country can fully reopen safely.

Gyms and other fitness facilities can expect stringent measures on the following: mask usage, social distancing , reduced capacity, and a high level of accountability for their actions. His clear-cut measures, as mentioned in the Biden Plan, will be a top-down approach from the government.

Many gyms – especially ones that have been operating illegally during lockdowns – may not be able to enjoy the same levels of reckless freedom as they did under the Trump administration.

Small businesses will get a restart package

The Biden Plan also states that small businesses will be equipped with an ambitious ‘restart package’ that will provide small business owners support for retaining and rehiring workers, and covering other costs of restarting in this challenging environment.

The goal is to put as many people back on payroll, as quickly and as safely as possible. Nevertheless, there are innumerable unaccounted for obstacles and losses when it comes to gyms and studios. Many fitness business owners find it hard to quantify their losses, especially when you throw things like customer engagement, loss of brand awareness, and staff decline into the mix.

We’re an industry that’s built upon people supporting people, with health being the top priority. Recently, IHRSA crafted a letter to Joe Biden detailing the importance of not lumping fitness businesses together with other service sectors.

They suggested ways in which facilities can help counter the spread of the coronavirus through contact tracing and bettering people’s health. Gym management software should also offer a hand in this battle by developing corona-proof features to support fitness businesses .

It’s not going to be an easy start to the year…

Will Biden close gyms? Biden has repeatedly said he does not believe that a lockdown will be necessary to get the virus under control. However, politicians change their tune faster than you can think, and in Biden’s case, he isn’t afraid to bet his bottom dollar on science. Cases are rising, and almost a year into the pandemic, people are starting to suffer from so-called ‘pandemic fatigue’.

Expect stronger, albeit result-focused measures in the future. We are still at the precipice of this pandemic, and, until a vaccine becomes widely available, the fitness industry will need to innovate, and businesses must step outside of their comfort zones to stay afloat. This means hybridizing your business model and digitizing your offerings to stay relevant in the minds of your members. In the meantime, stay safe and keep washing those hands.

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Neesha Kanaga

Neesha is a copywriter and wanderer who currently finds herself bound to the weather-challenged Netherlands due to the unforeseen circumstances of 2020.