Equinox Sees Membership Growth, Increased Usage after Mask Mandate Lifted

Memberships and club usage are on the rise for Equinox now that mask mandates have been lifted for vaccinated people, according to Harvey Spevak, executive chairman of Equinox Group, which owns Equinox, SoulCycle and Blink Fitness.

Spevak shared the news on May 19 in an interview with CNBC’s Frank Holland on “Power Lunch.” At the time of the interview, May 18 accounted for the company’s biggest usage day across all of its brands since the temporary closure of health clubs in March 2020 due to COVID-19, but he noted that usage rates would likely increase as the week progressed.

The company’s memberships in New York City grew 55 percent for the week compared to the prior week, he said.  

“We’ve been waiting for this day for 14 months, and what we are seeing is a tremendous amount of pent-up demand,” he said in the interview.

Once the CDC lifted the mask mandate, Equinox’s brands no longer required masks during exercise in its facilities for vaccinated people unless local or state rules mandated it.

Spevak also said that in the future, clubs will need to offer both digital and in-person fitness since members will now want to have both options.

Equinox Holdings is reportedly in talks to be purchased by a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) headed by Chamath Palihapitiya. When asked about the speculation, Spevak did not directly answer.

“We’ve always had tremendous interest from the investor community in our brands. We have this impressive portfolio. We have our physical business, now we have our digital business led by Equinox Plus and our Soul At Home bike, which is also getting great traction. We believe that the consumer ultimately wants a physical and digital—an in-real-life physical and virtual experience. We think we are the only company—the Equinox Group—to bring that to the members and our community. So we’ll continue to see great investor demand. But right now, where our focus is is in engaging with our community, making sure they feel safe, making them feel good about returning to their experience.”

When pressed, he said, “Right now, we’re focused on moving forward in terms of engaging with our community.”