Gym chain 24 Hour Fitness said it is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will close 100 locations around the United States, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Months ago, a number of governors ordered the closure of “non-essential” businesses, which includes gyms, to slow the spread of the virus.
In a news release on Monday, the chain said it is “continuing to reopen clubs in a phased approach and welcome members in locations nationwide, carefully following state and local government and public health agency guidelines.”
“The company expects to reopen the majority of its footprint by the end of June. During the time of phased club reopenings, all club members will have access to any available 24 Hour Fitness club through the end of 2020, regardless of membership level,” the release said.
But in a notice on its website, 24 Hour Fitness said it will shutter about 100 locations nationwide, noting that it “has made the difficult decision to close the following locations.”
CEO Tony Ueber placed most of the blame on the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic for the bankruptcy filing and closures.
“If it were not for COVID-19 and its devastating effects, we would not be filing for Chapter 11. With that said, we intend to use the process to strengthen the future of 24 Hour Fitness for our team and club members, as well as our stakeholders,” he said.
Ueber added: “We expect to have substantial financing with a path to restructuring our balance sheet and operations to ensure a resilient future. The COVID-19 environment has proved that attention to health and fitness are more important now than ever before. As a result of this restructuring, we will gain financial strength and flexibility to accelerate our business transformation plan, which includes reinvestment in our existing clubs, opening new clubs, and introducing several new innovative products and services that will enhance the fitness experience for our club members and guests for many years to come.”
Earlier this month, storied retailer JCPenney announced it would shut down 154 locations across the United States over the coming summer. It came days after the firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
“While closing stores is always an extremely difficult decision, our store optimization strategy is vital to ensuring we emerge from both Chapter 11 and the COVID-19 pandemic as a stronger retailer with greater financial flexibility to allow us to continue serving our loyal customers for decades to come,” Chief Executive Jill Soltau said in a statement about the closures at the time.