Pandemic having devastating impact on leisure industry, warns Leyburn gym owner

Gym owner Rob Bartlett.

A Richmondshire gym owner has warned that the pandemic is having a devastating impact on the leisure industry, with his business being one of numerous struggling to survive.

Rob Bartlett, who runs Fitness4All in Leyburn, said hundreds of independent gyms and fitness businesses have closed nationally in the last two years.

If things don’t pick up, Rob says they will have to seriously think about how long they can stay open for — despite the business thriving before Covid.

“Two years ago we were a growth business and looking for new premises to expand into.

“Now we don’t have enough customers to keep open long term.

“Ultimately we provide a service and if people aren’t going to use that service in sufficient numbers we won’t be around.”

Rob says behaviour had changed since the start of the pandemic, with fewer people choosing to visit the gym.

Nationally, experts say people’s routines have changed in the last two years. While some people have chosen to exercise in different ways, others now lead a more sedentary life.

“It’s such a shame as we are a community at the gym.

“Humans are social animals and they need to spend time with others, but many people are working from home, holding meetings online and not going out as much.

“Covid attacks the cardiovascular system and so it’s now more important than ever to stay healthy. Exercise is great for releasing endorphins and giving your mental health a lift.”

For more information on Fitness4All, visit