“The last six months have been financially exhausting for all of us. I’m glad the government finally decided to heed to our demands and allowed reopening of gyms in the city,” says Ankur Sehgal, who owns two centres of a gym in Paschim Vihar. Most gym owners and fitness enthusiasts in Delhi are happy with the recent orders that permit reopening of gyms and yoga institutes, within the guidelines that mention how strictly these places need to follow social distancing and other standard operating procedures due to Covid-19 situation.
Gym owners feel that the resumption of their businesses will help them pay their employees. “I’ve been lending a helping hand to all my employees and did not lay off anyone. But, this wasn’t the case with all places in Delhi as many lost their jobs during the time when gyms and other fitness centres were asked to remain shut, and not everyone had an alternate source of living. Hopefully, now all those people will get some financial support,” he adds.
Fitness enthusiasts are excited that they’ll be able to resume their regime, which had taken a hit because of the temporary closure of gyms. “Ever since the lockdown, I tried working out at home and used various apps to keep myself fit. But, it was extremely tough for me to maintain a routine. Now that the gyms are opening up again, I’m happy that I’ll have an hour just to myself,” says Rupsi Kumar, a Delhi-based HR professional.
Arpan Khosla, a Dwarka-based stand-up comedian, is hopeful that people will be careful while resuming their visits to fitness centres amid the pandemic, and says, “Though we are still battling cases of Covid-19, I feel it’s a good thing that gyms are reopening since they are important for a person’s physical and mental health; both of which have deteriorated during the pandemic. But, I hope all the safety measures are followed!”
“We will ensure all safety measures are complied with,” says Nikhil Kakkar, Golds Gym India. Sharing that safety of their staff and members is on top of the mind, he adds, “Trainers have been asked to wear masks and gloves at all times, and sanitisation stations have been erected at all centres. We will follow basic cleaning and disinfecting protocols and will sanitise the clubs on an hourly basis. There will be fewer members for each session in order to main social distancing.”
Since the orders came in late night on Sunday, not all gym in the Capital could reopen on Monday morning as many were busy making arrangements to ensure they run in compliance with the Covid-19 safety protocol. But some gym owners are still feeling the pinch of delay in the decision to reopen the gyms. “This decision should have been taken three months back when salons were allowed to open across India. We made several representations to the government in the last four months, which went unheard,” says Istayak Ansari, founder of a chain of gyms, adding that the losses that the industry has suffered will take at least a year to recover. “There has been zero revenue for the last six months, and gym members are expecting their memberships to be extended for the Covid-19 period. This will also lead to revenue loss in absence of any help from the government,” says Ansari.
In non-containment zones, yoga institutes have also been granted permission to reopen. Poonam Arora, who runs Priyasha Yoga Studio in Rohini, says, “I’ve reduced my batch size, and am screening all members (before they enter the class). During this pandemic, people have become more conscious of their health and well-being, so I’m hoping this will boost our business after a six-month lull!”