Lack of clarity around reopening leaves Ludhiana gym owners in the lurch
A day after the Punjab government in a press statement said that gyms can be allowed to reopen from next week if Covid cases continue to decline, it issued its final orders regarding the guidelines on Tuesday, wherein it didn’t mention anything regarding the same. This has led to a confusion in the fitness industry.
Extending the curfew restrictions in the state till June 15, the press statement issued by the government on June 7 had mentioned that if cases continue to decline, gyms can open after a week with 50% capacity. The gym owners were elated with the announcement, as even the local Congress leaders had assured them that the gyms will be allowed to open from next week. Anticipating reopening, many of them ordered sanitisation of the premises and lubrication of equipment. They even informed their members regarding the same.
However, in the final orders regarding the revised guidelines issued by the government on June 8, there was no mention of the reopening of gyms, leaving the owners in a dilemma. Even the subsequent orders issued by deputy commissioner (DC) Varinder Sharma regarding the curfew relaxations in the district also didn’t mention anything in this regard.
The administrative officials stated that the gyms will remain closed till the time official orders are not issued by the government. Caught unaware, the gym owners stated that the government should issue separate orders for reopening ofgyms from next week as announced earlier or the fitness industry will be forced to raise an agitation.
“The sector had heaved a sigh of relief after the government in its press statement mentioned that the gyms can be opened next week if the Covid cases continued to decline. Even Congress leaders had assured us of the same. If the state government fails to issue orders regarding reopening, the gym owners will be forced to move on roads,” Gym Ekta Welfare Association president Monu Sabharwal.
“There are over 800 gyms in the city and over 80% of them are being run on rental properties. The owners are struggling to pay fixed charges including power bills, salaries, etc. Many gyms are on the brink of closure,” he added.
The gym owners are expecting the government to announce the final date for the reopening of gyms and issue SOPs soon. The owners, who have been staging protests seeking reopening of gyms in the state, stated that they were struggling to make ends meet as the gyms had remained shut for five months last year and for almost two months this year.
Punjab Gym Welfare Association president Navneet Singh said, “We have already started preparing for reopening and getting the staff vaccinated. We will take up the matter with the DC as the government had announced that the gyms can open from next week. We expect that SOPs for opening the gyms will be issued by the end of this week.”
Meanwhile, DC Sharma said,” The orders issued by the state government are clear and no date has yet been announced for the opening of gyms in the state. The gyms will remain closed until the state government issues orders regarding reopening.”
Punjab Youth Development Board chairman Sukhwinder Bindra who had, on Tuesday, assured the gym owners that gyms will be allowed to open from next week, said that the government will be working on the SOPs, following which it might issue separate orders regarding the same.