Hurricane Harvey Impacts Southeast Texas Health Clubs

(Photo by Getty / Joe Raedle.) Since making landfall last week, Hurricane Harvey is already estimated to have caused $160 billion in damage.

Editors' Note: This story was updated on Aug. 31 with new information about a re-open date for The Houstonian.

During the last week, Hurricane Harvey has caused unprecedented flooding and damage in southeastern Texas. The storm is estimated to be the costliest natural disaster in American history, according to USA Today, at an estimated $160 billion.

Among those affected by the storm's historic landfall are health club operators.

The YMCA of Greater Houston closed all of its facilities on Aug. 27 due to the impact of the storm. According to a Facebook post that evening, the Y re-opened several facilities as "staging locations" for exposed families seeking shelter.

Fourteen local Y facilities reopened as of Aug. 30 with limited services, according to an announcement on the Y's website.

Representatives at Dallas-based ClubCorp on Aug. 29 confirmed that many of the company's Houston-area facilities have experienced heavy rainfall and are closed indefinitely.

"Our top priority is the safety and well-being of our staff and the members of our clubs," a media release said. "The storm is ongoing, and we remain in close contact with all of our clubs in the region affected by the storm. We will continue to monitor the storm and assess its impact on our clubs. We are pleased that, to date, there have been no reports of injuries. ... ClubCorp applauds its dedicated staff for their hard work and thanks the first responders, members of law enforcement and medical personnel who are working tirelessly to aid the communities impacted by Hurricane Harvey."

Fit Athletic also closed its downtown Houston and River Oaks locations from Aug. 28 to Aug. 30 due to storm impact. In a Facebook post, club staff said they expect to re-open Aug. 31.

On Aug. 28, The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa announced on Facebook that the facility is closed indefinitely, but a spokesperson for The Houstonian told Club Industry on Aug. 31 that the hotel, which had flooding on the first floor, will reopen on Sept. 20, and the fitness center, which did not have any flooding, will reopen next week. 

"We have sustained an unprecedented amount of water at the hotel overnight, and have evacuated our hotel guests," Cher Harris, the hotel's general manager, said in an Aug. 28 release. "We are currently assessing all operational and safety systems, and cannot accommodate club members on property at this time."

The Houstonian spokesperson said on Aug. 31 that all employees are safe, and that team members who did not sustain damage in their homes are working in shifts with engineers and electricians to repair any damage. 

On Aug. 27, Avenu Fitness opened its Edloe Street location to all community members, offering free morning coffee and workouts.

"Regardless if you're a client or not, we're all part of the same community and would love to have you join us," a Facebook post said. "Come burn off some energy, reconnect with your neighbors, and find out if you can help one another."

After operating under limited hours, Avenu returned to its normal schedule as of Aug. 30.

On Aug. 27, Houston Gym closed and encouraged members, via Facebook, to stay safe and not attempt to drive. The facility resumed regular hours at its Durham Drive facility on Aug. 30.

Life Time Athletic also closed several of its local facilities between Aug. 25 and Aug. 29. A website message from its City Centre staff said: "On behalf of the entire Life Time family, we wish you and all members a safe and secure outcome in the wake of the storm."

Texas Southern University and the University of Houston campuses are closed through Sept. 4, according to announcements on the schools' websites. In an Aug. 30 Facebook post, University of Houston Downtown staff told students to "focus on your personal safety...the most important thing at this time."


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