Why 75% of Americans are Not Comfortable Returning to Gyms After Quarantine

As many states explore re-opening, there is a long list of unknowns for many businesses, especially for gyms and fitness centers. 

Drive Research surveyed 600 gym-goers across the United States to better understand their opinions on this controversial topic.

This study outlines how Americans expect gyms to approach the re-opening process when the time comes.

Infographic to show concern with gyms re-opening during COVID-19

Prefer to read? Here are the highlights from our online survey.

Three in five said COVID-19 has severely impacted their workout routine.

The use of live stream or virtual fitness classes has increased by over a third (35%).

Home gym use increased to a third (32%) during the pandemic and is becoming an increasingly popular option as gyms remain closed (40%). 

Three in four are not comfortable going to their gym when it re-opens. 

Although a strong majority of respondents are not comfortable going to the gym when it re-opens, 59% of respondents also said they are very eager to get back to their normal workout routine. 

Do face masks have an impact on members returning to gyms?

Whether face masks are required or not has no impact on how likely people are to workout in shared or public spaces

When asked, "How likely are you to go to the gym if face masks were required?"

  • 76% said they would be unlikely to go to the gym even if face masks were required.

When asked, "How likely are you to go to the gym if face masks were not required?"

  • 71% said they would be unlikely to go to the gym if face masks were not required.

97% expect gyms to take precautions and implement guidelines

What exactly do gym members expect?:

  • 87% said hand sanitizing stations.
  • 82% said limits on the number of guests in the building.
  • 81% said social distancing guidelines to be put in place
  • 79% said outlined safety and sanitation guidelines.
  • 64% said scheduling access (i.e., signing up for a time slot).
  • 62% said health screenings such as temperature checks before using the gym.

Germs are feared by most when it comes to returning to the gym.

What do gym-goers fear the most about returning to the gym?

  • 69% said germs on the equipment.
  • 66% said being too close to other members. 
  • 61% said germs in other communal areas. 
  • 46% said people not wearing face masks
  • 17% said they don't have any fears about returning to the gym. 

Respondents also listed people not following the rules, having a lack of trust in other gym members, and breathing through a mask during a workout as major concerns. 

Three in four think members shouldn’t have to pay if they don’t feel comfortable going to the gym. 

What do members think gyms should offer as they re-open?

  • 75% said gym members should be able to pause their memberships.
  • 74% said members should receive a refund or credit for unused time.
  • 59% said gym members should be able to cancel or break their contracts if they don’t feel comfortable using the gym. 

Survey Methodology 

This PR polling study was conducted by Drive Research among a national audience between May 28 and May 29, 2020, using email invitations to our in-house panel.

The online survey collected a total of 600 responses at the 95% confidence level offers a 4.0% margin of error.

If the survey was conducted with another random pool of 600 Americans, results would yield within +4.0% or -4.0% of the stated totals.

The margin of error can be used as a guideline to understand the high reliability of these results.

These results were also featured on USA Today.

About Drive Research 

Drive Research is a PR survey company located in New York. Our services extend across the U.S. and the world. Our market research firm works with a variety of organizations, helping deliver insights, action items, and ROI on their survey efforts.

Media Contact 

Emily Carroll, Marketing Coordinator

[email protected]

elizabeth sincavage author of market research company blog

About the Author

Elizabeth has a curious mind and is never afraid to ask “why?” She discovered her passion for research and exploring data while completing her bachelor’s degree at Marist College. As a researcher, she believes you’re never truly done learning.

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