South Africa’s leading gyms will not charge their members for April 2020. Gyms were not labelled an essential service, meaning that South Africans have not been able to visit their gym during the lockdown. As a result, Virgin Active announced on 24 March that it would temporarily close all of its gyms and freeze memberships.
This was before the country’s lockdown was extended by an additional two weeks until the end of April, however. MyBroadband therefore asked Virgin Active, and Planet Fitness, whether they would continue to keep memberships frozen during the full lockdown period.
Virgin Active told MyBroadband that no member debit orders will run for the duration of the lockdown. These memberships, as well as monthly direct debits, will automatically be reinstated when its gyms reopen.
It added that the company has committed to paying all staff salaries, despite receiving no subscription revenues during the lockdown. Top-level management have taken salary reductions to assist with this. Virgin Active said it has been adding workouts to the Virgin Active app to help its members remain active during the lockdown period.
Even non-members can visit Virgin Active’s social media channels to access a free workout of the day, which takes place live at 7:30 each morning. It has also partnered with DStv to bring workouts to Showmax and SuperSport Blitz.
Planet Fitness confirmed that it has frozen membership fees during the lockdown. This means that members will not be billed for April. Planet Fitness “will decide on future billing from May onwards or once the government allows us to reopen, in order to give our members relief during this lockdown period”.
Planet Fitness said it is offering online fitness classes free of charge during the lockdown, though. These classes are available to existing Planet Fitness members as well as all members of the public. Users must register on the Planet Fitness website to access the classes.
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