Gyms may only open after 2 weeks

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By Viwe Ndongeni-Ntlebi Time of article publishedAug 17, 2020

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After four long months, fitness fanatics will soon be able to work out in the gym again.

Under the relaxed level 2 regulations, fitness centres are allowed to reopen but under strict conditions and protocol.

The gym industry has welcomed this news as the fitness industry is on the verge of collapse. It is expected that around 80 percent of gyms are likely to shut down permanently, leaving many people without income.

In a statement, Virgin Active said it had been informed that fitness operators would need to submit their Covid-19 plans to the government for approval before facilities could reopen. This process is expected to take a week to complete.

The group said it was aware that all members would not be ready to return to gyms immediately and the freeze to their membership would remain in place at no cost for at least a further two months.

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CEO and Founder, Manny Rivera of Planet Fitness said they have been working around the clock on negotiations with the Minister of Sport’s office to discuss the world class, best practice protocols that they have been proposed for their fitness clubs to re-open.

“Planet Fitness has been hard at work, to ensure that when you return to your favourite club, once we receive the green light to re-open, you can do so safely,” the group announced.

Responding to calls from the fitness industry, who have urged the government to open up gyms across the country, the chair of the Ministerial Advisory Group, Professor Salim Abdool Karim said he believes there is no reason why gyms and fitness studios should not be allowed to open safely during South Africa’s national lockdown.

Speaking to the Saturday Star, Karima said: “Gyms need to take extra precautions before they can open. Those protocols have been developed.

“I’ve seen a draft doing the rounds and I think – if the appropriate precautions are taken in terms of ensuring social distancing, there is enough space, and they only take small numbers of people at a time – there should be no reason why gyms shouldn’t be able to open up safely.”

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