Owners seek permission to reopen gyms

Reopening gyms will only increase immunity and help people fight against COVID-19 pandemic.  

The nearly three-month shutdown of fitness centres in view of the COVID-19 pandemic has left the industry high and dry with some gyms contemplating closure while some have even laid off several trainers.

Over 75 days have passed since they last closed the shutters on their gyms and the owners are unable to take on the increasing pressure to meet the expenses. While salaries were paid to trainers for the month of March, some paid them half a month’s salary for April but are unable to afford them without any revenue, they said.

Along with electricity bills, hefty rent amounts gym owners also have pending loans, says Vignesh Ramanathan, owner, Define Fitness Centre in Thillai Nagar.

Seven staff members, including trainers were asked to leave at his gym and he continues to pay rent for the gym from his own savings, he said.

“Along with the rent, the equipment in the gym is purchased on loan. These loans have to be paid off and cannot be deferred,” he said.

K. Hemajothi, who runs an all-women gym near Chathram Bus Stand, said that along with the financial burden of paying off these debts, she worries about her customers. “Most women who trained at our gym found solace here. That one hour in a day would be a stress-buster, free from work, from family and all other commitments. During the lockdown, many of them have become stressed and anxious and are yearning to return to the gym,” she said.

While many gyms continue to provide online classes and workouts, equipments are languishing in locked gyms. “Just like how cars need to be regularly used to be in good condition, some equipment needs to be used. Initially we contemplated going and switching them on and off but fearing action from authorities, we have kept the gyms closed,” another gym owner in Woraiyur said.

A group of owners plan to petition the district collector to allow for them to reopen their centres. “When salons can open, we can too. We will reduce the number of people per session and will ensure all norms are followed,” Mr. Vignesh said. Reopening gyms will only increase immunity and help people fight against the deadly virus. “The city corporation and health officials can provide standard operating procedures which we will ensure and will also sanitise the equipment regularly,” he added.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 12:07:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/owners-seek-permission-to-reopen-gyms/article31870870.ece

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