People in Switzerland hesitant to return to gyms after COVID pandemic

People in Switzerland hesitant to return to gyms after COVID pandemic

While COVID-19 restrictions in Switzerland seem long in the past, many people are still cautious to return to the activities they used to enjoy before the pandemic. One place where this can be seen particularly clearly is in Switzerland’s gyms. Just three gyms across the whole of Switzerland say their attendance has returned to pre-pandemic levels, according to a survey by the Swiss Federation of Health and Fitness Centres (SFGV). 

Survey found just three gyms in Switzerland at pre-pandemic capacity 

According to SonntagsBlick, the SFGV carried out an attendance survey of 196 fitness companies across Switzerland. It found that only three gyms in the whole country say that their attendance is back to pre-pandemic levels. "On average, our members still make about 30 percent less turnover than they did before the coronavirus. This threatens their existence", the organisation’s president Claude Ammann told reporters. 

The reason for the drop in attendance is yet to be determined, but may be due to an alteration in how people keep - and stay - fit. SonntagsBlick argued that many people in Switzerland found pleasure in new hobbies and sports during COVID, such as biking in the Swiss mountains or heading to Swiss lakes and rivers to take part in water sports. According to the newspaper, industry experts also speculate that many older people are still hesitant to gather indoors, potentially contributing to the reduction in gym attendees. 

One in 20 gyms has less than half of its usual occupancy rate

The results of the survey are concerning for many. One in 20 gyms that took part in the survey is operating at less than half of its usual capacity. 72 fitness establishments were found to have lost between 21 and 30 percent of their pre-pandemic clients, while 70 more gyms said that they see 31 to 50 percent fewer clients compared to 2019. 

COVID restrictions on gyms and fitness centres were lifted in Switzerland earlier this year as the government rolled back strict COVID-19 measures. SonntagsBlick concluded that ever since, many businesses have been struggling to regain ground lost during the pandemic.

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. She then obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in journalism....

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