Shares of Planet Fitness (NYSE: PLNT) spiked on Monday morning after promising news broke regarding a coronavirus vaccine candidate. A phase 3 trail showed 90% effectiveness for preventing a novel coronavirus that’s turned our world upside down in 2020. As of 10 a.m. EST, Planet Fitness stock has spiked as much as 29% higher and has been within a couple of percentage points of all-time highs.
Here’s why the vaccine news could be particularly good for Planet Fitness. The company just released results for the third quarter of 2020, and its membership has taken a big hit in recent months. At the end of the second quarter, it had 15.2 million members, down just slightly from peak membership of 15.5 million.
However, as Planet Fitness’ gyms began reopening, it resumed billing its customers. Membership dues had been waived while locations remained closed. As long as they weren’t being charged, members weren’t canceling. However, now that they’re being billed again, cancellations have soared. By the end of Q3, Planet Fitness’ membership was at 14.1 million — down about 5% in a matter of months and down 10% from peak membership.
Planet Fitness’ management said the biggest drop in membership came from gyms that reached a second billing month. In other words, it appears people got surprised by their monthly bill once gyms reopened, but they made sure to cancel before they got the second bill. However, management said it did notice an additional decline in membership in areas where cases of COVID-19 were rising.
Here’s the question for Planet Fitness: Is the company losing members because they don’t want to have a gym membership while coronavirus cases are still rising? Or have members found better exercise-at-home options to replace their gym memberships? The latter will take time to confirm the trend, but it would put a major question mark on the long-term growth thesis.
However, if people are simply uncomfortable exercising at a gym where they could contract the virus, then today’s news of an effective vaccine candidate is good reason for Planet Fitness shareholders to be hopeful. Former members might rejoin the gym chain in short order. Realistically though, investors need to remember there’s still a lot that needs to happen to make a vaccine widely available. And Planet Fitness membership could languish until that happens. Therefore, I’d say the stock’s movement today is overdone.
Jon Quast owns shares of Planet Fitness. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Planet Fitness. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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At least seven states have set new records for single-day increases in coronavirus cases, prompting some to set new restrictions as concerns mount over possible “superspreader events” during the upcoming holiday season.
Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota and West Virginia all set records Friday in the number of new cases of the virus, NBC News’ tally shows.
Colorado recorded 1,312 cases Friday, the same day Denver’s mayor announced both a tougher mask mandate that requires residents to wear face coverings outdoors and a limit on gatherings in “unregulated settings” to no more than five people.
“Over the past several weeks, we have worked hard to reduce our caseloads and keep hospitalizations from increasing,” Mayor Michael Hancock said in a press release. “But we need to do more. With the holidays on the horizon, we must take these additional steps over the next 30 days and knuckle down together to do the hard work that needs to be done so we can all enjoy this upcoming holiday season.”
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The mask mandate remains in effect until further notice, while the limit on gatherings is through Nov. 16.
Idaho recorded 1,094 new cases Friday, while Indiana and Minnesota each reported more than 2,200 cases, according to NBC’s data.
The governor of Idaho, Brad Little, said Thursday that the state was going to stay in stage 4 of his reopening plan after having failed to meet the criteria for a full reopening for the ninth time in a row, the Idaho Statesman reported.
Little urged residents to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
“Our personal actions work better to slow the spread of coronavirus than anything else,” the governor said, according to the outlet. “This is about personal responsibility, something Idaho is all about.”
Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said she was “very saddened” about the rise in cases, although she said some of it can be attributed to more testing.
“Some of the things that we maybe thought was O.K. to do a month or so ago is much, much riskier today just given this level of viral spread around our state,” she told MinnPost.
North Dakota and New Mexico also broke daily records Friday with 859 cases and 812, respectively. West Virginia and Wyoming each reported just under 500 new cases that day.
A spokeswoman for the New Mexico governor’s office called the increase in that state a “Covid-19 wildfire,” the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
“The virus spreads when people give it the opportunity to spread, and New Mexicans are doing just that,” spokeswoman Nora Meyers Sackett said.
In Wisconsin, health officials urged residents not to gather with anyone outside of their immediate families.
“I think people should think about all of the things that they’re doing outside of the confines of their immediate families as a potential place that they could be coming into contact with Covid-19,” said Andrea Palm, with the state’s Department of Health Services. “Now
Multiple European countries experienced record daily highs in new coronavirus cases this week as the pandemic surges again around the world.
France reported 30,000 new confirmed coronavirus cases Thursday, the highest single-day increase since the pandemic hit, and nearly 200 cases per 100,000 people over the past week, according to the The Associated Press.
Cases began to rapidly increase in September, and have spiked in recent weeks.
Italy, an initial hotpot when the pandemic began, saw a new record daily high of 7,332 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday. The previous record was set on March 21, when 6,557 cases were recorded over a 24-hour period, according to CNN.
Italy has seen a consecutive increase in cases for the past 10 weeks.
In Germany, 6,638 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours, surpassing a previous record of 6,294 new cases recorded on March 28, The Robert Koch Institute confirmed Thursday morning.
The Czech Republic reported a record-high of new daily cases on Friday of 9,721, according to the country’s health ministry, as cases have seen a non-stop upward trend over the past two months.
Several affected countries are enforcing stricter lockdown measures in the wake of Europe’s COVID-19 surge, hoping to prevent future spikes.
The cases come as Europe and the U.S. head into the fall and winter seasons, which public health experts have warned could cause an increase in coronavirus cases as people move inside to get away from colder weather. Experts have also warned that this winter could be particularly deadly due to both the impending flu season and the coronavirus pandemic.