Thursday, December 3, 2020

Gym owners explore options to survive

As events and outdoor facilities around the country continue to be given the green light to host functions as well as events, one sector that is however feeling the pinch of Covid pandemic is the fitness industry, which since the first lockdown has seen its clientele experience a change in behaviour.

In an interview with the telegraph explaining how their experience with the whole Covid 19 situation, Jack`s Gym General Manager Irene Decheva said ‘it has been very difficult, there are a lot of new requirements brought by the ministry of health and it’s not easy because clients are required to for example wear masks and it’s not really working for them. It’s difficult to train with a mask, so we approached the health authorities to show them that it`s more dangerous when they have to wear a mask. So those who can, should and those who can`t should try to keep a distance from other people when they are training. On the other side we are having a lot of expense with all these sanitizing and cleaning all the time and trying to keep all the equipment clean and advising clients to sanitize before and after use of the gym. We are coping but it is difficult.”

Governments across the world introduced lockdowns as a responsive measure to Covid 19 and temporarily closed down businesses and left those classified as essential to resume operations. However when lockdowns were lifted some entity did not manage to resume operations and this trickled down to clientele for the fitness industry as people were more afraid of enclosed spaces such as gyms which resulted in some people not renewing membership.

Decheva explained that for them it reduced their operating hours. She said “Right now our hours are a bit normal but we have to make sure the gyms are not packed, so we always have to look around especially during peak hours and sometimes avoid having many people. So we have to stop guys from entering and wait for someone to leave the gym which also affects us because during peak hours our clients cannot train longer hours, we give them an hour, hour twenty minutes and they give opportunity for other clients to come. Some people are fitness fanatics and want to be here longer hours, so it is what it is and we have to deal with it. Some corporate clients which normally pays for group packages have not renewed subscriptions and have left it to individuals to attend on their own.”

On what they are doing to make the gym a safer place, she said “generally we are advise the clients not just sanitize their hands we have put sanitizers all around the gym as well as sprays for the machines and equipment. On weekly basis we sanitize the whole gym, we can’t really fumigate because we work every day from Monday to Sunday but we try by all means to clean the gym, ventilate the studios and gym floors.”

Meanwhile start up business Classy Women fitness lounge owner Fetsang Machola shared that for her since the lifting of lockdowns business has not been able to pick up where it was before. She was growing membership with 36 subscribers and now she has start over again as subscriptions have long expired. On what she is doing to adapt to the situation, she said “I want to remarket my business and reach out to people, create flyers, post on Facebook.”

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The Telegraph December 2

Digital edition of The Telegraph, December 2, 2020.