By Lubna Hamdan
Gyms blame limited support for SMEs and stubborn landlords for closures
At least five gyms have permanently ceased operations in Dubai as Covid-19 hits the city's fitness industry.
CrossFit GoldBox Dubai, Flywheel Dubai, Cult.fit, Engine Health and Fitness and TribeFit Dubai Marina have announced they are closing down as a direct result of the pandemic. Gyms in Dubai were closed for over two months in line with government safety measures to curb the spread of the virus. The city is among the world's most expensive for gym memberships, according to a study by Deutsche Bank, where prices are higher than cities like London or New York.
"It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that, effective today, CrossFit GoldBox Dubai shall be ceasing its operations. In these especially challenging times, it has unfortunately been decided that we shall not resume our business as usual," said the gym in an Instagram post, while Engine Health and Fitness announced it will be issuing refunds of memberships as of 14 June 2020 after 8 years of operations.
Others, however, blamed limited support for SMEs and stubborn landlords for their inability to survive the pandemic.
"As the first boutique indoor cycling studio in Dubai, it is with a very heavy and sad heart that we have to say goodbye to Flywheel in Dubai..." said the US brand. "Unfortunately the Covid-19 pandemic, the ensuing lockdown, Flywheel US's temporary closure, and the limited support for SMEs has left us with no choice but to permanently close our doors in Dubai."
TribeFit announced the closure of its Dubai Marina branch, but said it will reopen in October in Jumeirah Village Triangle, "where rent is much more affordable and in line with market conditions prevailing in the time of Covid-19."
"We have tried all avenues to remain afloat in our existing premises, including restructuring and seeking relief from suppliers and most importantly, our existing landlord," it said in a letter to clients and partners, and which was seen by Arabian Business.
"Unfortunately, despite our best efforts we have not been able to secure critical support to enable us to ride out this crisis. It is very disappointing for us and indeed everyone, as we have been forced to make the painful decision to close our existing club," it added.
However both TribeFit and Cult.fit have partnered with GymNation to offer members of either gym the chance to transfer their memberships to any GymNation chain free of charge.
Those who do not wish to transfer their memberships will be refunded the balance amount of their pending membership on a pro-rate basis, according to Cult.fit. TribeFit said it will not offer refunds, but that members can avail the remainder of their memberships once the new location has reopened.
Freelance personal training platform Rebel DXB has also ceased operations. "Another victim of Covid-19" its Instagram bio reads.