‘Save gyms’: Owners in Delhi say for 70% of them it’s now or never
Gyms and wellness centres in the city have been closed for over 80 days due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. The gym association has appealed to the central and the state governments to allow these facilities to restart operations so the industry can survive.Updated: Jun 11, 2020, 06:12 IST
Seventy per cent of Delhi’s gyms may shut down for good if they don’t resume business next month, a survey conducted by the Delhi Gym Association revealed.
The survey, which was conducted over five days with the sample size of over 1,000 gyms, further stated that if gyms are not opened in August as well, as many as 87% gym owners will have to wrap up their businesses because of huge losses they incurred during the lockdown.
Gyms and wellness centres in the city have been closed for over 80 days due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. The gym association has appealed to the central and the state governments to allow these facilities to restart operations so the industry can survive. There are around 5,500 registered gyms across the city, including small, medium and branded ones.
Gym owners have also demanded financial assistance from the government to tide over the crisis. Nearly 50 gym owners and trainers staged a protest at the Delhi Secretariat on Wednesday demanding that fitness centres be reopened and the industry receive a special relief package. “Gyms should be allowed to operate. It’s a matter of our survival,” Parvinder Singh, a member of Indian Gym Welfare Federation, the body which held the protest, said.
The Delhi government is yet to decide on the reopening of gyms and fitness centres across the city. The central government, in an order on May 30, had said that they would take a decision on the reopening of gymnasiums and swimming pools during the “third phase” of the unlocking plan. Though there is no exact time specified for the third phase, it cannot take place before July because the state governments are yet to decide details of the second phase, which will deal with the reopening of schools and colleges, that month.
Chirag Sethi, vice-president of the Delhi Gym Association, said that gyms were shut even before the lockdown was announced on March 25 and they have had no business for last 84 days. “Despite there being no business, owners have had to pay a hefty amount in rent, water and electricity bills, and maintenance charges,” Sethi said.
“It will result in large-scale unemployment in fitness centres and gyms as owners will not be able to recover the financial losses,” the survey report stated.
Nikhil Kakkar, CEO, Gold Gyms India, said that the Covid-19 crisis has impacted the fitness industry adversely across India, irrespective of the class and brand of gyms, and the road ahead is tough even for big fitness chains. “With steep rentals and payrolls, survival is tough in this crisis. Nearly 70% to 75% gyms will bear the brunt of Covid-19 if they are not opened soon,” Kakkar said.
Smaller gyms are likely to be hit the worst due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Prateek Chaudhary, the owner of several small-scale gyms in Shahdara and Dilshad Garden, said that local gyms are more vulnerable as they have no financial backing. “At gyms, people build their immunity and strength, hence they should be considered as important as salons and restaurants. We are ready to follow all social distancing and safety measures along with proper sanitisation of our centres,” Chaudhary said.
Jugal Kishor, head, community medicine, at Safdarjung Hospital, said, “Gyms can be made safer when social distancing norms are followed strictly. Gym premises and equipment should be sanitised thoroughly at regular intervals. ”