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The pandemic made for a difficult year boutique fitness chains such as Y7 Studios, which has permanently closed about half of its 15 New York locations.

The pandemic made for a difficult year boutique fitness chains such as Y7 Studios, which has permanently closed about half of its 15 New York locations.

Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg

Pursuits
Feature

NYC’s Boutique Gyms Face Operational Crunch in Reopening Studios

Pandemic restrictions are easing, but challenges remain for studios trying recruit instructors and reconnect with customers.

New York is loosening some Covid-19 restrictions this week, signaling a step toward normalcy for a wide range of businesses. But for fitness studios such as Y7 Studio, Barry’s Bootcamp and Mile High Run Club that managed to endure a year of devastated sales, the fight for survival is hardly over.

They must navigate fast-changing and confusing rules. New York has said fitness centers can operate at 50% capacity as of May 15th, but also says that, as of Wednesday, it is not basing capacity limits for businesses on a percentage of maximum occupancy, but rather on how many people can fit in a space while staying six feet apart. For small-format workout facilities, that might not be much of a reprieve.