Safety measures in place as gyms reopen

Ursula Schenker of Southfield has comorbidities and isnt returning to gym under level 2. She says she will continue doing yoga to stay fit under lockdown.

Gyms and fitness centres reopened on Tuesday, after five months, as the country moved to level 2 lockdown.

They have to limit visitors to no more than 50 at a time.

However, two of the country’s biggest gyms did not open on Tuesday. Planet Fitness said on Twitter it would announce its opening dates soon.

Virgin Active said in a letter to
clients it was waiting for government to approve its health and safety plans.

CrossFit False Bay in Retreat was open on Tuesday.

Owner Nico van der Walt said he was thrilled things were slowly going back to normal.

After being closed for three months, the gym got a government permit to open on July 1 but only for one-on-one training sessions.

The gym could then open smoothly on Tuesday, as they already had approved safety plans in place to operate.

The lockdown had hit their business hard, Mr Van der Walt said.

“We ran at a low, with our turnover (from July’s sales) going down by about 40%, yet the expenses remained the same.

“But we’re hopeful that we will pick up again at the
beginning of September. We’re just very happy to be able to open to more people now. There were a lot of people happy to see each other after such a long time coming through the doors today.”

Customers can use an online system to book a one-hour slot a day. Classes on Tuesday were fully booked.

Vsitors to the gym must fill in Covid-19 screening questionnaires and have their temperatures taken.

They can then remove their mask and move into various demarcated areas with gym equipment.

Tape on the floor marks off these areas that are spaced 1.2m apart.

According to Mr Van der Walt, the 300m2 fitness centre will accommodate 10 people per one-hour-slot.

Customers have to sanitise before and after using the equipment in each training session.

Other gyms in the country are following similar
procedures.

The Virgin Active Group said in its letter that it would
adjust debit orders to reflect the number of days in the
month its gyms would be open and it would reduce membership fees to take into account the seven days it still owed customers from March when lockdown started.

The group also said that it would give its members the option to continue with
virtual workouts and would continue to freeze the accounts of those not yet ready to return for a further two months.

Virgin Active will also only allow members under the age of 60 to train and members will have to keep their face masks on while working out, as will the Virgin Active staff.

President Cyril Ramaphosa warned South Africans in his weekly letter to proceed with caution under the level 2
lockdown.

Restrictions were easing but Covid-19 was still taking lives and people should follow all precautions to stay safe.