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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Denver's city-run rec centers will slowly reopen this spring, with a few gyms scheduled to come back online May 3, a spokesperson tells Axios.

By the numbers: Denver Recreation Centers saw a revenue loss of about $8.5 million last year due to COVID closures.

  • More than 9,500 members chose to credit their accounts, totaling about $1.2 million.
  • Another 1,800+ requested refunds, worth about $271,000.
  • And 262 sweet souls donated their membership fees, generating roughly $39,000.

What they’re saying: Although city officials project a $1 million revenue loss in 2021, the fitness industry as a whole remains hopeful.

  • "Consumer sentiment is strong — people want to start exercising again, members feel safe at their local gym and they realize it's important to their physical and mental health,” the Colorado Fitness Coalition Advisory Board told Axios in a statement.
  • "There’s lots of pent up demand — so much so, that we plan to continue to develop additional Planet Fitnesses in the Colorado market," said Rich Jost, who co-owns Planet Fitnesses in the metro area.

The big picture: Across the country, the fitness industry was hit hard by the pandemic, losing a total of $20.4 billion — or about 58% in revenue — according to a January report released by the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association.

Yes, but: It could take another year before Denver's industry rebounds to pre-pandemic levels as mask mandates and physical distancing continue to pose challenges.

  • "Over the next months we will work to begin conversations with the state regarding mask exemptions while exercising, and decreasing the six-foot physical distancing while wearing a mask," the CFC advisory board said.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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Go deeper

Pandemic drives record-setting surge in consumer complaints to Colorado AG

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Colorado consumers filed a record-setting 12,130 complaints with the Colorado attorney general's office in 2020, new data shows.

Driving the news: The pandemic spurred the 24% increase from 2019. It also changed the nature of the complaints.

Feb 24, 2021 - Axios Denver

Meet Brock Osweiler's Boss, Denver's most famous pit bull

Brock Osweiler and Boss at Denver Animal Protection on Feb. 16. Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo courtesy of Denver Animal Protection

We'd like you to meet a very good boy: Boss is one of at least 33 newly registered pit bulls in the city, according to Denver Animal Protection.

Why Boss matters: He belongs to Denver resident and former Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler, who helped the team to a Super Bowl 50 victory.

The Colorado Convention Center had a rough year but could fuel local revitalization

The Colorado Convention Center in Denver at dusk. Photo: Ken Ross/VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Keeping the Colorado Convention Center closed for most of 2020 cost "far more than expected," Richard Scharf, the president and CEO of Visit Denver, told Axios.

By the numbers: The economic impact of lost convention center business and related hotel bookings last year topped a whopping $720 million.