TORONTO -- A new fitness club survey finds only 31 per cent of Canadians who belonged to a gym have returned and many more plan to cancel their memberships.

Even though most gyms are now open for business they have to allow for social distancing, implement safety protocols and limit the number of people who can workout at the same time.

Fitness researcher Nicholas Rizzo with RunRepeat, which conducted the global survey, says Canadians are most concerned about safety issues related to the virus. 

“Some people are afraid and feel is it really worth it to go to the gym right now to potentially catch something that could put me out of work or give me permanent damage long term," Rizzo said.

The survey found that 21 per cent have already cancelled their memberships and another 39 per cent are still considering it. 

Some gym members say they feel they won't get the same workout due to safety guidelines, restricted use of equipment and limited exercise programs. 

When gyms were closed many people also got used to working out at home using their own fitness gear or apps to stay in shape.

“You can try to get in shape using just using a small space in your home, or by watching online streaming platforms or free YouTube videos,” Rizzo said.

Chris Silva of North York says the gym location he belongs to remains closed, but started charging him fees again. 

He said he’s been having trouble communicating with the gym and that even if they did reopen he wants to cancel his membership. 

“They started billing me for a service that I have no way of using" Silva said. “They are trying to restrict people to using one machine for their entire workout.” 

Rizzo said the next four months will be crucial for the fitness industry. January is when many clubs make the bulk of their revenue for the entire year because many new members sign with the resolution to get in shape, he said. 

He said if members stop coming back it will be difficult for some clubs to continue to operate. 

“The longer the pandemic goes on with restrictions inside gyms, members are going to look for others place to go" he said.

As for Silva, when CTV News Toronto reached out to his fitness club, it agreed to cancel his contract.