Gym giant Les Mills has asked those who have put their memberships on hold during lockdown to start making payments again.
Headlined "Back us to restart", an email to customers says the company is "facing the biggest hurdle of its 52-year history" and while it was hoped the clubs, which boasted some 60,000 members in March last year, would only be closed for a month, "that's regretfully not to be".
Under alert levels 3 and 4, Les Mills and other gyms throughout New Zealand have been required to cease operations. Only when the country is deemed safe to move to level 2 will fitness centres be able to return to business as usual.
Les Mills applied and was granted two wage subsidy payments under the government's Covid-19 scheme: Just over $2.34 million for 376 staff under Les Mills New Zealand Limited and $233,347 to pay 34 staff under Les Mills International Limited.
For Les Mills members willing to return to making payments, the company has offered a sweetener of sorts: three months free membership for a friend or family member.
During the lockdown, Les Mills has provided free workout sessions via TVNZ morning classes and offered free trials of its Les Mills On Demand app which features workouts and classes in strength, cardio, HIIT, dance and flexibility.
Founded in 1968, last year Les Mills Auckland City, on Victoria St, underwent a massive makeover. When the Herald toured the revamped digs in March last year, $18 million out of a $30m budget had been spent.
Les Mills' Philip Mills responds to the email in Bosses in Lockdown above