Health clubs were not immune to the violent weather that swept across the United States this year.
In April, a category EF4 tornado in Tuscaloosa, AL, destroyed both a Planet Fitness and a World Gym. A few members at the Planet Fitness took shelter in the locker room during the tornado and were unharmed. (A new Planet Fitness will reopen in another location early next year.)
Then in May, a category EF5 tornado in Joplin, MO, destroyed the Olympic Fitness Center. The three YMCA facilities in Joplin were unharmed but had a dramatic drop in membership usage, and most of its usual programming was suspended. In the aftermath of both tornadoes, local university rec centers became American Red Cross shelters and housed students whose off-campus housing was damaged.
A rare earthquake followed by a hurricane along the East Coast shut off power at homes and clubs. Some of Town Sports International’s New York Sports Clubs closed for two days because of Hurricane Irene. As was the case during the tornadoes in the spring, several club operators that either had power or regained power in their clubs opened their doors to the community for the use of their shower facilities.