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Omicron throws Bay Area gyms, fitness centers a final curveball after tumultuous year

The past year has been a bumpy one for Bay Area gyms and fitness studios. Dean Eriksen, the co-owner of Fit Local Fit, a small network of gyms in San Francisco, describes it as “a continuous stream of operational pivots and just an overall challenge to make it to this point.”

Now the fast-spreading omicron variant is poised to throw the industry yet another curveball going into what should be one of their busiest parts of the year, when people are drawing up lists of New Year’s resolutions and committing to hit the gym more regularly.

“I feel like there’s light at the end of the tunnel, except we’re starting to see trends go a little bit backward,” Eriksen said. “I’m feeling optimistic, but I’m also feeling a little concerned with the direction things are going right now.”

Don Dickerson, the vice president of Fitness SF, which has eight gyms around the Bay Area, six of which are in San Francisco, was less sanguine, especially in light of the news Wednesday that masks would, once again, be required in gym settings in San Francisco, Alameda, Marin and Contra Costa counties.

“It’s been a brutal year. The constant change has been rough on members,” Dickerson said. “January was our hope to get back on our feet.” Now that’s looking less likely.