Privately held fitness brand Gold's Gym filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to a statement from the company released on May 4. The 700-location gym operation attributed the restructuring entirely to the COVID-19 pandemic that has temporarily closed its locations.

This is the first major Planet Fitness (NYSE:PLNT) competitor to file for bankruptcy because of the coronavirus, but more could follow suit in the coming months. According to CNBC, privately held 24 Hour Fitness is also considering a bankruptcy protection filing.

Wood squares are laid out to spell bankruptcy.

Image source: Getty Images.

Still in business

Gold's Gym said 2019 was its strongest growth year ever, but the reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic derailed its momentum. After weeks of grappling with the challenge, Gold's Gym permanently closed around 30 company-owned locations and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. However, filing for bankruptcy isn't the same as going out of business. The company intends to stay in business at its remaining locations and expects to emerge from bankruptcy protection by Aug. 1.

Planet Fitness locations remain closed as well. In an update from the company on May 5, it said it expects the negative impact from the coronavirus outbreak to extend beyond the current shutdown. Beyond the current pause in membership fees, Planet Fitness expects fewer new store openings in 2020 than planned, as well as fewer equipment sales as franchisees forego the expense to preserve liquidity for now. 

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