Gyms and Yoga studios require flexibility
We’ve already outlined some of the help available to companies although all were designed to be temporary measures to alleviate the worst of the effects of any disruption to trade and income.
As the interruption continues and more businesses find themselves stretched further than they’re able to bear, the helpful and supportive consensus currently binding the country and the overall response to the pandemic starts to split and splinter.
One example is the predicament that several companies are increasingly finding themselves in – caught between their temporarily reduced circumstances and the growing demands of their creditors.
Gyms are a prime example.
Currently over 3,000 of the biggest chain gyms, yoga studios, health clubs and smaller local ones remain shuttered, with staff on furlough and unable to offer their services yet continuing to be eligible for rent.
Despite requests for rent leniency or holidays, some are instead being met with threats of legal action to ensure payment.
Huw Edwards, Chief Executive of UK Active, the representative body of the health and fitness industry, said that issuing legal action against members while they were closed was “entirely disproportionate”.
“We need the government to act now to amend the act so that landlords cannot do this.
“With over 3,000 gyms at risk of permanent closure, and 100,000 jobs at stake, time is of the essence.”
The act Mr Edwards is referring to is The Coronavirus Act 2020 which was introduced on March 25th this year.
Section 82 of the act deals with protecting commercial tenants by banning the forfeiture of commercial leases until June 30th – or potentially longer if the government deems necessary – for non-payment of rent.
None of this would stop landlords taking recovery action.
UK Active and other bodies want to see the act amended to prevent this but also to introduce additional financial support for landlords to compensate including rent and mortgage holidays.
A government spokesperson said: “In these exceptional times, we urge landlords to act in a socially responsible way, exercising judgement and discretion with their tenants.”
As more businesses, suppliers and landlords find themselves with less room to maneuver, chains of goodwill will begin to break down and the collective spirit that has sustained most of the country over the past few weeks will dissipate.
There is further help and support available beyond government grants and business rate breaks.
Get in touch with us now and let us work with you to identify where the strengths and weaknesses of your business are and what you can do to improve both.
Our expert team will be able to advise you additional strategies you can pursue and entitlements your business may be able to take advantage of that you may not be aware of.