As Maharashtra govt allows gyms to resume business, fitness centres have worked out new rules

Mumbai: From tomorrow, being in the gym will require as much discipline as body-building. Now that the state government has allowed gyms and salons to resume business, fitness centres will operate as per new protocols, to ensure social distancing is followed. But on the whole, those in the fitness industry have heaved a huge sigh of relief.

Gym-owners had been planning to resume business from July 1, as various apex bodies, representing workers of the fitness industry, were in contact with state government officials.

As per the new rules, every gym will make a list of their members and allot them time slots. Their will be six slots, (three in the morning and three in the evening) and this will be strictly enforced.

Gym owners say, the timings will be flexible, and could be changed regularly, as per the requirement of members. The number of members to be allowed in each slot will be relative to the fitness equipment available inside the gym. There will be minimum contact between the trainers and their clients.

"The gyms will allow clients on a par with equipment they use and their requirements. If there are three cardio machines in a gym, then we will only allow three person at a time. As soon as they are done, the machines will be sanitised immediately," said Roshan Kumar, a fitness trainer.

"Following the resumption of services, most of the gyms will function as per the allocated time slots. Only members who register in advance will be allowed, as per slots available, to ensure there is no crowding and social distancing is maintained" said Rocky Verma, trainer with a popular fitness chain.

"The timings will be flexible and can be customised as per the preference of the clients. For those unable to accommodate themselves in the morning or evening slots, special slots could be opened during afternoons," assured Verma.

As many have cancelled their memberships amid the Coronavirus pandemic, gym owners hope there will be less rush in the initial days, which will allow them to maintain social distancing well.

"For the first few weeks, we won't be giving out new memberships, because we want to get started with the existing ones. It is essential to get started, as the equipment is developing snags due to non-use and repairs are costly," said Ashmit Maan Singh, manager of a city-based chain.

"We found out our cardio machines needed repairs last week and now, just before we resume, we will have these fixed, at a cost of Rs 9,000 each, and we already have five treadmills," said Maan Singh.

For the hygiene and sanitation part, many gyms have hired stewards to guide members. After every use, equipment inside the gyms will be sanitised and pitches will be marked. Also wearing masks is a must for trainers, stewards and all the staffers.

"Wearing masks and gloves are important, for trainers and staffers atleast. The member will get exhausted, as for them, wearing a mask would be added pressure, yet we will urge them to keep their faces covered. The air-conditioning system will also need to be controlled," said Pratik Krishnan a fitness chain worker.

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