Equinox says CDC’s new mask guidelines have triggered a surge in registrations
After more than a year of training at home or running in their neighborhoods, people are ready to return to the gym as mask requirements are lifted in parts of the United States.
“We’ve been waiting for this day for 14 months, and what we’re seeing is huge pent-up demand,” Harvey Spevak, executive chairman of Equinox Group, said in an interview with CNBC. Frank Holland at “Power lunch. “
Equinox, which also owns SoulCycle and Blink Fitness, will no longer require members to wear masks while exercising, per new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last week, the agency said fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask indoors as protection against Covid-19.
The company said it will continue to follow national or local guidelines, where masks are required indoors. Unvaccinated members and guests are always expected to wear a face mask.
At SoulCycle, fully vaccinated runners will be allowed to remove their masks during lessons, but everyone is still required to wear masks in common areas such as the lobby, locker rooms and hallways.
Spevak said the new policy is bringing people back to his facilities.
“Yesterday was our highest usage in the Equinox portfolio since our close in March of last year,” he said. But that record could be broken on Wednesday. “It’s still early days as we usually have our strongest push at the end of the day, but I’m pretty confident [Wednesday] will be our biggest day. “
“We are also seeing strong demand for new sales,” Spevak said.
In New York City alone, Equinox saw a 55% increase in new member sales from a week ago.
“Right now our goal is to engage with our community and make sure they feel safe and make sure they feel good about going back to their experience,” Spevak said.
Both fitness channels will not require proof of vaccination.
“We trust our runners; they care about each other, for the community as a whole. And so we believe you when you say you’re vaccinated,” said Evelyn Webster, CEO of SoulCycle, in a separate interview. .
Spevak expects the future of fitness to be a hybrid of digital and in-person experiences.
“People want to be able to go back and forth,” Spevak said. “We believe that the consumer we respond to is going to want unique experiences both physically and digitally.”
During the pandemic, SoulCycle closed its indoor studios and managed to move its classes outdoors to 21 of its locations.
“They will continue to be a permanent feature of the SoulCycle offering for the very long term,” said Webster.
As previously stated, Equinox is in talks to go public via a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, headed by Chamath Palihapitiya, according to people familiar with the matter.