In November, the Mcfit boss Rainer Schaller was calm and understanding about the decision of the politicians to close all fitness studios in Germany. “I have complete confidence in politics and of course go along with the decisions,” he said at the time in an interview with the “Bild Zeitung”.
After the third month in lockdown, however, the founder and managing director of the Rainer Schaller Group (RSG), the parent company of Mcfit, can apparently no longer remain calm. In an open letter, Schaller is now addressing the Federal Chancellor and the Prime Ministers on behalf of the fitness industry. “Nobody understands that hairdressers and nail salons are allowed to open, but fitness studios are not,” says the statement that Mcfit published on Tuesday afternoon on the company’s own Instagram channel. In it, Schaller essentially demands two things: “Finally allow outdoor sports again!” And “Let us enter into a dialogue on how we can reopen the indoor area with suitable measures,” said Schaller’s message to politicians.
The entire fitness industry had to struggle with a drastic decline in the number of members and total sales last year as well as this year, said Schaller. For him it is clear: “too big to fail” no longer applies – it affects both small and large studios.
Does this mean that Schaller is having liquid difficulties in his own company? At the request of NewsABC.net, the company was not yet able to provide any information on the specific effects of the lockdown on membership numbers and sales, as the RSG Group is currently still in the evaluation phase. In an earlier interview with NewsABC.net, however, Schaller warned of the bankruptcy of many studio providers who were disappearing from the market due to liquidity bottlenecks. “The entire fitness industry has its back to the wall,” he says in the open letter.
Mcfit had to close the recently launched “Outdoor Gyms” again
Schaller operates more than 1,000 fitness studios under the umbrella of the RSG Group, including 200 facilities in Germany, and is considered the market leader worldwide, thanks in part to the takeover of the well-known US fitness chain Golds Gym.
As recently as mid-February, Mcfit had set up so-called “outdoor gyms” in their parking lots in front of the studios at ten locations in Germany, as well as some in Italy and the USA, where customers could train on the equipment in the fresh air, but with a mask. A few days later, however, the local regulatory authorities ordered all locations to be closed. Therefore, Schaller is now demanding at least permission to exercise in the fresh air.
In the justification of his demands, Schaller refers to the infectiologist Zastrow and the physicist Gerhard Scheuch, according to which the spread of coronaviruses during training in the fresh air and with adherence to fixed organizational processes is excluded. Together with the scientists, a hygiene concept was developed that was enclosed with the open letter to politicians.