NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — For the first time in more than a year, Amanda Bell's yoga studio is full of hugs.
"Almost every single day we'll probably see one or two people returning back," the owner of Bend and Zen Hot Yoga on Charlotte Avenue said. "Of course I ask permission, 'can I hug you?' because you just want to embrace these people."
As vaccination numbers rise, so are memberships and in-person visits at the studio, which is still taking some coronavirus safety measures like having marked spots on the floor. The CDC has now said vaccinated people can safely go without a mask, and Bell said she sees new faces every day as people get more comfortable in public.
"We've seen this huge influx of people coming back who have been gone for pretty much a year," Bell said. "I just think people are coming out of their hibernation and they're excited to be back."
At East Nashville's Gym 5, owner Adam Wright says growth has been more gradual.
"We've had a steady flow of people, I think people understand now that its more important than ever to get your health right," he said.
He said this time of year is normally busy for the industry, but added that there are a lot of other businesses who couldn't stay open to get a spring-time boost.
"This is a traditionally busy time, people come in trying to get ready for swimsuit season, that's a real thing," Wright said. "But how we've picked up members, unfortunately, is because of the mandates, because of all the gyms that have closed. I'm glad things are pulled back, but this needs to be it and we need to get back to normal business."