Fixed slots, improved ventilation, sanitising machines— how Noida gyms are gearing up for business again
Guidelines rolled out by the central government on Wednesday for the third phase of lifting curbs imposed to stop the spread of Covid-19 spelled much relief for gym owners in Noida whose establishments have been shut since March. With the new guidelines for “Unlock 3” announcing gyms and yoga centres to reopen from August 5, gym owners in the city have started making preparations to open their doors for customers.
Even as they wait for the union health ministry to issue a standard operating procedure (SOP), many gyms in the city have started disinfecting their establishments, improving the ventilation systems, servicing their machines and buying sanitisation and other equipments to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) once they reopen to business.
“We all are very happy that gyms will finally be allowed to open. We had been receiving calls from our customers who were missing working out in the gym, even though we had been in touch with many of them guiding them with working out at home,” said Deepa Ahuja, who owns the Sector 108 branch of Anytime Fitness gym – an American Fitness chains of health and fitness clubs. “We have already started planning safety measures to ensure sanitisation and social distancing. We will make the use of Aarogya Setu mobile application compulsory for our members who will be asked to carry their own wipes and gloves. We have also started installing HEPA (high-efficiency particulate) filters in the air conditioners, and hired an agency to sanitise the gym every 24-hours. Every machine will be coated with approved chemicals so that the surface stays virus-free for 14 days. We are also planning to install disinfection tunnels stations at the entrance of the gym.”
Adding that the gym authorities are also working on plans to extend the membership programmes to make it up to the customers who lost more than four months of exercising at the gym, Ahuja said that she will only begin contacting the members once the SOP is released.
Some gym owners in the city also said they are working on plans such as mandatory booking of slots to avoid too many people working out at the same time. “We have already started cleaning and sanitising the gym, and have bought new machines. Once the SOP is out, we will ask our members to choose a time slot so that we can avoid overcrowding at the fitness club,” said Bharat (goes by a single name), owner, The Fitness Bar, a gym at Sector 120.
“Yoga institutes and gymnasiums will be allowed to open from August 5, 2020. In this regard standard operating Procedure (SOP) will be issued by the ministry of health & family welfare (MoHFW) for ensuring social distancing and to contain the spread of Covid-19,” stated the government order on Unlock 3.
The Uttar Pradesh government has also given its nod for opening of gyms in the state. “We are waiting for the detailed SOP to be issued by the health ministry, based on which we will issue instructions to the gyms in the district,” said Suhas LY, district magistrate, Gautam Budh Nagar
Many fitness enthusiasts are looking forward to the reopening of gyms. “I’m excited that the gyms will finally be open, as working out at home is good but it’s not the same as working out at a gym where we have instructors to guide and help us. The pandemic will stay for some more time and we will have to deal with it no matter what. I just hope that my gym makes up for the lost months, as my membership expired in June,” Kartik Kumar, a Noida-based techie who goes to a gym in Sector 77.
Gymnasiums in Noida were ordered to shut on March 15. There are about 400 gyms in the district.
Gym owners said they are making all arrangements to ensure the risk of getting exposed to the infection is minimised. “We are working on plans to ensure customers maintain social distance, so on our mobile application, we have already given an option for members to fix time slots. Meanwhile, some facilities like showers and steam will be closed for the time being. Every member has to wear the face masks, gloves, and needs to be covered fully and not wear shorts,” Ranjan Ghosh, senior regional manager of Golds gym, who also operates a branch in Sector 30. “ Plastic sheets are being installed between treadmills as it would be difficult to run with masks but we are also insuring to improve the ventilation of the gyms, “ he added.