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Planet Fitness Not Seeing an Omicron Variant Slowdown in Gym Visits

The chain did see a slowdown before there were vaccines, but that's not happening now.

The omicron variant of Covid-19 has led a lot of people to change travel plans, but it has apparently not had a major effect on people going to the gym to work out. At least that's what Planet Fitness (PLNT) - Get Free Report CEO Chris Rondeau said during his appearance today (Jan. 3) on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"In December of 2020, when we saw the spiking of the variant, the spiking of Covid back then before there was even a vaccine, we did see a pullback on workouts and cancellations spiking," he said. "During the delta variant and with omicron, we're not seeing that pullback."

Traffic Still Strong at Planet Fitness

The gym CEO said he has not seen traffic to his locations pull back nor has he seen an increase in cancellations during the latest surge of the virus.  

"I think they're feeling more comfortable with the protocols that we have out in place. I think they're realizing fitness is truly essential," he said. "The last thing we ever should have done is shut down gyms."

Planet Fitness has taken a number of steps to mitigate the transmission of Covid. These include:

  • Regular and thorough cleaning of all gym equipment
  • Sanitation stations on the gym floor
  • Touchless check-in.

Planet Fitness does not have a company-wide mask policy for its members. Instead, it

follows whatever the local applicable laws are. The company has also added a "crowd meter" on its app that allows members to see how crowded their club is before electing to visit.

Planet Fitness Is Almost Back

While there was a concern during the pandemic that people would dump their gym membership for Peloton (PTON) - Get Free Report and other at-home connected fitness options, that does not appear to be the case.

Rondeau told Jim Cramer on an edition of CNBC's "Mad Money" that aired in November that his company has largely completed its comeback.

“Our height was 15.5 [million members]. We’re 97% all the way recaptured back to where we were pre-Covid,” Rondeau said.

“We saw the highest third-quarter net member growth in company history,” The CEO added. “People are choosing bricks and mortar. They’re coming back faster than we’ve ever seen. They’re rejoining our clubs faster than we’ve ever seen. The Gen Z’s are joining faster than we’ve ever seen. All the winds are blowing the right direction, and the sails are wide open.”