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N.Y.C. Reopens 100 Days After First Virus Case

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Suddenly fitness enthusiasts were forced to reimagine not only where they could work out, but also how they could do it. People snapped up benches, resistance bands, dumbbells and kettlebells (ball-shaped weights with handles). In New York, the demand led to a citywide shortage of workout equipment.

“I did not see this coming,” Meron Tamrat, a Harlem resident, said. Ms. Tamrat, 32, purchased a dumbbell and kettlebell immediately after the stay-at-home order was announced in March. But a few weeks later, when she needed more equipment, she hit a dead end. “Everything was just gone,” she said.

“It’s pandemonium,” said Ed Pryst, the chief sales officer of Gym Source, a New Jersey-based workout equipment retailer with several offices in New York. “I’ve been in the business for 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything like it.”

In recent weeks, Mr. Pryst said, when he visited closed Gym Source locations in New York preparing for reopening, he would encounter passers-by tapping on the storefront glass, asking about kettlebells.

An April study of consumer interests by Yelp, the site for searching and reviewing local businesses, found that interest in fitness equipment had risen by 500 percent in the United States since March.

But the rush for equipment may ebb as quarantine restrictions begin to lift. Cumberland Foundry in Rhode Island has been one of the few American foundries able to step in and make kettlebells. Its owner, Thomas Lucchetti, said, “There’s a demand for it now, but how long is that going to last?”

It’s Tuesday — carry that weight.


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