No relaxation yet for gyms, owners worried about losses | Latest Delhi News
The new Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) order makes no mention of the reopening of gyms and fitness centers in the capital, despite numerous calls and symbolic protests. Several owners say it’s discriminatory that bars, restaurants and movie theaters are allowed to operate at 50% capacity, but fitness establishments are still not allowed to operate. They also staged another symbolic protest near the Trauma Center, Civil Lines, on Saturday to demand reopening.
“The government is not thinking about the five lakh families who depend on the fitness industry in Delhi. Everything else is open except the city gymnasiums. No studies around the world have shown transmission of Covid-19 from gyms. We are always the first to close and the last to open. We condemn this decision by the DDMA to let everything run in Delhi except the gymnasiums,” said Bhupender Sharma, chairman of the Delhi Gym Association, who was present at the protest.
Some are struggling to settle overdue payments and get rent relief. Omesh Chandna, Owner, Anytime Fitness, South Ex, says: “We have almost ₹20-25 lakhs outstanding which includes rent, taxes and staff salary and their incentives. And we don’t know when our situation will improve. This is suicidal for our business. The owners prefer other companies rather than giving the place to rent to fitness centers.
Harnek Ghabri, Owner, DNA Fitness, Janakpuri believes this is an added stress in times of pandemic. He says, “For some it is difficult to pay rent which can be up to two lakhs per month. So, since 2020, the business is affected because gyms have been closed for longer. It’s mental torture as gyms are targeted every time. More physical contact is happening in salons, which didn’t even close this time.
So, do online courses help generate income? “It is difficult to motivate customers to adopt the virtual mode; then they ask to suspend membership and say they will resume once the gyms open. So our source of income is affected, but we still have to pay the instructors because they are full-time employees,” says Harpreet Singh, owner of Steppers Do The Step, Rajinder Nagar.
Fitness enthusiasts also have concerns. Anam Qureshi, a resident of South Delhi, says, “If restaurants and bars can operate at 50% capacity, then why can’t gyms? Isn’t taking care of one’s health an essential service? How come bars fall into the essential category? Obviously, there is no reason to stop gyms from operating. There is no science or logic behind this government decision, and it has yet to be proven.