CBD fitness outlets hit by work-from-home arrangements
Dance and fitness outlets hit by work-from-home arrangements worry that office workers may not travel for classes in future
Dance and fitness outlets located in and around the Central Business District (CBD) are being dealt a double blow, as they await reopening only in phase two - and worry if their core customer base of office workers will return.
Slap Dance Studio at Robinson Square conducts pole dance and lap dance classes and its manager Stephy Chua thinks that office workers, which make up 80 per cent of its students, will be less inclined to travel to the CBD due to work-from-home arrangements being continued indefinitely, on top of concerns over safe distancing.
Online classes have helped it tide over the circuit breaker, during which it suffered a 75 per cent drop in revenue.
When Slap is allowed to reopen, it will launch new courses and fresh choreography, along with private classes, said Ms Chua.
She told The New Paper: "We expect that inbound students will be fewer, so we will have to roll out marketing campaigns.
"While these are unprecedented times for businesses, the odds of us considering relocation away from the CBD is extremely low. We will have to do everything we can to keep afloat as relocation will require additional capital."
Ms Renee Tan, director of Groove Dance School in Chinatown, said: "The reason (our customers) come is because it is near their offices.
"If they are working from home, they may not want to come for classes."
Some 60 per cent of them work at nearby offices or a few train stops away.
With a drop in revenue of up to 95 per cent, Ms Tan is looking into expansion plans, like gradually increasing the number of classes conducted at Chinese Swimming Club and Jalan Besar Sports Centre as well as online.
She added: "It is possible that we will see more students at our classes there because they are (near) neighbourhoods and residential areas."
Ms Alice Huang, manager of Shiva Yoga Studio at Bugis Village, felt the impact of the Covid-19 situation even before the circuit breaker, when regulars attended only once a week instead of thrice because they did not have to commute to their workplaces.
She is hopeful that business will pick up if they end up working alternate weeks or split shifts at the office, and is looking to invite well-known overseas instructors to attract the crowd.
She said: "Our business will be badly affected for sure, but in my opinion, the CBD will still be the main hub of activities."
Mr Christopher Lim, director of 360 Fitness in Cecil Street, is also concerned about losing his clientele.
Safe distancing rules will further impact operations and revenue from the gym's virtual classes and personal training sessions will not cover rent.
A 34-year-old compliance manager who wanted to be known only as Ms Koh said that the travel time from her home in Sengkang to Shiva Yoga Studio and back takes two hours.
She has been doing yoga twice a week at home ever since she stopped commuting to her workplace near Downtown MRT station in mid-February.
She said: "It will be too inconvenient to go (all the way there just) for a class. Even though I prefer face-to-face classes, it is too much of a hassle.
"Depending on my schedule and budget, I will probably look into signing up with a studio near my home (in future)."