Fitness, wellness and beauty facilities take stock as Covid-19 restrictions come into play

Fitness, wellness and beauty facilities take stock as Covid-19 restrictions come into play

As new social distancing measures fall into place as per the Federal Government's Covid-19 plan, businesses around the country are trying to figure out where to next.

The fitness, wellness and beauty industries have effectively been ordered to shut down immediately, with many businesses unable to offer a virtual or distance-based alternative to their physical services.

Vita Group (ASX: VTG) which operates 21 aesthetic beauty service clinics, including 13 Artisan/branded clinics, will suspended trade from Thursday 26 March.

The company says the financial impacts arising from the Federal Government's decision to shut down beauty clinics are still being assessed.

Despite the shutdown of its clinics, Vita Group says its ICT (information and communications technology) channel has been deemed an essential service by the Federal Government and remains open for business.

Vita's ICT channel includes more than 100 Telstra retail and business centres, as well as technology accessories brand Sprout.

The company's CEO and executive director Maxine Horne is disappointed but understands the government's decision and will be working to support staff through this period of indefinite suspension.

"Our focus over the next 24 hours is on supporting our team members through this difficult period, and ensuring our clients continue to receive the high levels of service they are accustomed to," says Horne.

"The Vita leadership team is proactively managing its business continuity plans in these unprecedented circumstances with the aim of placing the business in the best possible position for our long term future."

Viva stretches out online

Listed fitness company Viva Leisure (ASX: VVA) has been forced to close all of its 97 clubs around the country to follow the Government's instructions.

While there is no expected reopening date for its portfolio of fitness clubs at this time Viva has turned to non-traditional methods to keep its clients fit and healthy for the meantime.

Over the weekend Viva launched its first at-home workout app called Club Lime LMOD (LesMills on Demand).

The app offers Viva members access to 100 workouts supplied by industry leading group fitness provider LesMills International, and is now available on Android, iOS and iPadOS.

The company will soon release another at-home workout app called Club Lime Workouts on Demand with over 500 different workouts from Yoga to high intensity interval training classes.

Further, Viva's team at Hiit Republic will be running 'Home Work-In' classes on both Facebook Live and YouTube Live for members to maintain their training regime.

While the company is transitioning well into this brave new world that does not mean it has been easy for the group's staff.

Viva closed all of its facilities on Monday leading to the cancellation of all casual shifts from the time of closure (affecting around 800 staff), while non-essential permanent staff were placed on paid or unpaid leave, and 90 per cent of the group's total workforce was stood down.

"This week we face the challenging and unimaginable position to be legally required to close our clubs, together with the entire industry," says Viva Leisure CEO and managing director Harry Konstantinou.

"I am confident that Viva Leisure will come out of this temporary closure and uncertainty significantly stronger, with new opportunities and possibilities, and with a raised awareness of the importance of fitness for many more Australians."

Updated at 3:52PM AEDT on 25 March 2020.

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