COVID-19, GYMS -

Gyms Closed Until After Winter

Why you won't be going back to the gym until SEPTEMBER - and they'll be nothing like what you remember them.

Gyms in Australia won't be opened until after winter despite Australia making great strides in flattening the infection curve, gym owners and doctors have warned. 

The federal Government shut gyms along with cinemas, nightclubs, churches and pubs, clubs and hotels from midday on March 23 to slow the spread of coronavirus

As the confirmed number of infections across the country continue to fall, experts have begun to hypothesize as to when exactly life can begin to when life could begin to return to normal. And for many Australians, that will mean a trip to the gym or a group fitness session with friends and family. 

However, some have warned gyms will not be able to open until after winter and they'll be required to follow strict social distancing rules to ensure there won't be a spike in coronavirus cases.

The Fitness Playground CEO Justin Ashley, who runs four successful gyms in Sydney, says they are hopeful doors will be open sooner rather than later - but admits they are very much in the hands of the State Government.  

'The safety of our members and employees is the one priority,' he said. 

'We know it won't be business as usual immediately. However, if gyms were able to open even at a reduced capacity, that would be a positive step for the industry as well as for the health and fitness of our community as a whole. 

'While we look forward to being able to get back to operating our gyms in the future, through this period we will continue to support our community and members online, via The Virtual Playground.'

'The Virtual Playground' is an online extension of The Fitness Playground network of gyms.

A personal trainer at Snap Fitness said while he 'misses' the gym, it would be almost impossible to practice social distancing. 

'Social distancing would be next to impossible as a 24-hour gym, however we could remodel so there's no 24-hour access for a period of time.

'Implement that, then definitely could implement strict cleaning - we already did that - and limit numbers inn the gym at any one time.'

The personal trainer added he had 'no immediate concern' about catching coronavirus if his gym was to reopen.  

'However, I think that there would be compulsory things put in place which would highly change our job,' he said. 

 

 

WHAT GOING TO THE GYM WILL BE LIKE AFTER COVID-19 

  • Experts don't expect gyms to open until the end of winter in Australia and they hypothesize they will be forced to follow strict social distancing rules.
  • This could include spacing machines around a venue to ensure members stay at least 1.5 metres from other gym junkies and limiting how many people are allowed inside at once. 
  • The president of the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control Professor Phil Russo suggested there would be a 'staged roll out'.
  • 'It may start with an aerobics class that once had 40 people, it would start with 10 in it,' he said.
  • Exercise bikes could be spaced at least 1.5 metres apart from each other and gym classes could run for less time, he added.
  • Prof Russo said the gradual loosening of restrictions would need to be analysed over a period of a few weeks to ensure they don't contribute to further COVID-19 outbreak.
  • 'Those things would be well planned and gradually introduced,' he said. 'You want to make sure that it's not causing further spread.'
  • Additionally, gyms may need to change their cleaning regime by cleaning equipment more frequently.
  • Australian National University microbiology professor Peter Collignon agreed there would likely be a staged roll out. 
  • '[It would be] A gradual thing where physical distance rules are going to have to be respected for quite a while and hand hygiene,' he said.
  • People who have respiratory issues also shouldn't be allowed to use gyms, he added.  

 

The president of the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control Professor Phil Russo said opening gyms would be 'quite challenging' due to their operation in confined spaces.  

'Gyms I think are going to be quite challenging when it comes to rolling back these decisions,' he told Daily Mail Australia. 

'Purely because they gather a large number of people in small areas.'

Prof Russo said there 'may be a concern' that people who are exercising in gyms may be more inclined to cough during their workout.

But the main concern keeping gyms shut is people congregating in an indoor space and sharing equipment, he said.

'COVID is spread by person to person to contact and contaminated surfaces,' Prof Russo explained.

Prof Russo said there would be a 'staged roll out' when gyms eventually open.

'It may start with an aerobics class that once had 40 people, it would start with 10 in it,' he said.

Exercise bikes could be spaced at least 1.5 metres apart from each other and gym classes could run for less time, he added.

 

Prof Russo said the gradual loosening of restrictions would need to be analysed over a period of a few weeks to ensure they don't contribute to further COVID-19 outbreak.

'Those things would be well planned and gradually introduced,' he said.

'You want to make sure that it's not causing further spread.'

Additionally, gyms may need to change their cleaning regime with equipment.

'I'm not sure what the standards are now but it may need to be more frequent than what's normal,' Prof Russo said. 

A personal trainer from a small studio on Sydney's North Shore said she would love for gyms to open soon but was aware of the health implications. 

'I would love for gyms to open soon but I know that they will probably be one of the last places to open purely because there's more opportunities for diseases to spread. People sweating, spitting and sharing machines,' she said. 

'I'm really lucky that I work in a small personal training studio where everyone who comes in has a session so we can clean at a more efficient rate and we know where everyone has been so there's no chance of someone coming back from overseas and contaminating our studio but the big gyms will struggle.'

She is hopeful the gyms will be opened up at a 'reduced rate'.  

'So many people rely on exercise for their mental health and it also gets them out of the house away from their family,' the Sydney-based personal trainer said. 

'But I definitely think the smart thing to do is to wait until we have more of a reduction of community transmitted cases because as soon as we open the doors every man and their dog will be in the gym and then we'll be back to square one.' 

 

Prof Russo said the gradual loosening of restrictions would need to be analysed over a period of a few weeks to ensure they don't contribute to further COVID-19 outbreak.

'Those things would be well planned and gradually introduced,' he said.

'You want to make sure that it's not causing further spread.'

Additionally, gyms may need to change their cleaning regime with equipment.

'I'm not sure what the standards are now but it may need to be more frequent than what's normal,' Prof Russo said. 

A personal trainer from a small studio on Sydney's North Shore said she would love for gyms to open soon but was aware of the health implications. 

'I would love for gyms to open soon but I know that they will probably be one of the last places to open purely because there's more opportunities for diseases to spread. People sweating, spitting and sharing machines,' she said. 

'I'm really lucky that I work in a small personal training studio where everyone who comes in has a session so we can clean at a more efficient rate and we know where everyone has been so there's no chance of someone coming back from overseas and contaminating our studio but the big gyms will struggle.'

She is hopeful the gyms will be opened up at a 'reduced rate'.  

'So many people rely on exercise for their mental health and it also gets them out of the house away from their family,' the Sydney-based personal trainer said. 

'But I definitely think the smart thing to do is to wait until we have more of a reduction of community transmitted cases because as soon as we open the doors every man and their dog will be in the gym and then we'll be back to square one.' 

 

When gyms eventually open, Prof Collignon said they would not immediately return to normal operation.  

'[It would be] A gradual thing where physical distance rules are going to have to be respected for quite a while and hand hygiene,' he said.

People who have respiratory issues also shouldn't be allowed to use gyms, he added.  

When Prime Minister Scott Morrison moved to close gyms, he suggested the measures could be in place for six months.

On March 20, the government decided there must be a density of no more than one person per four square metres of floor space in any occupied space. 

'The four square metre arrangements for venues will come into effect from 20 March 2020 and will be mandated through state and territory regulatory arrangements,' a statement from Mr Morrison read.

'For example, there can be 25 people in a 100 square metre room, who should maintain a physical healthy distance between each other of 1.5 metres.' 

 

Fitness warehouses and online retailers who sell gym gear quickly became unexpected winners of the health crisis as shoppers rushed to stock up on equipment and create their own at home gyms.  

It was the same story at Kmart, where the shelves stripped bare as shoppers desperately attempted to get their hands on exercise equipment.   

Disgruntled customers posted on Twitter, where they shared images of the bare shelves, writing: 'Let's buy weights and yoga mats, every single person in Sydney said #coronavirus'.

It wasn't long before others said they were also struggling to get their hands on any of the discount store's gym equipment.

'Forget toilet paper, our local Kmart has been cleared of gym equipment? #COVID-19,' one woman posted. 

Australians keen to get their daily dose of exercise in during the health crisis have flocked to parks and coastal walks for their workouts. 

Outdoor gyms and playgrounds are also closed and councils have taped the equipment to make sure gym junkies don't try and break the rules.         

 

A resumption in elective surgeries and moves towards returning students to classrooms have been identified as the first steps in the lifting of coronavirus-driven restrictions. 

The National Cabinet on Tuesday decided to gradually resume elective surgeries from April 27 after Australia secured more personal protective equipment and significantly slowed down new coronavirus cases.

'It is the progress on those first two fronts of containment and capacity which allow us to take these steps on the road to recovery through greater freedoms and opportunities for elective surgery,' Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

NSW has announced plans for slowly bringing children back into classrooms, starting with one day a week from May 11.

South Australian schools will be back to normal from Monday although the government accepts many parents will still choose to keep children at home.

 

And West Australian authorities are strongly urging year 11 and 12 students to head back to campus.

But Mr Morrison said the current baseline level of restrictions would be in place for at least four weeks, while Essential Research polling has found the majority of Australians surveyed believe it's currently too early to think about easing restrictions.

Leaders want to have steadily low levels of transmission, and greater testing and tracing capabilities in place before any easing happens.

But those states that have gone further than the national baseline - such as WA, which has put in place tough border closures - may return to that basic level of restrictions in coming weeks.

Mr Morrison also urged aged care homes that have implemented tougher rules on visitors than recommended, or outright bans, to ease back.

'We are already on the road back and I think we already have reached a turning point on these issues provided we can keep the controls in place to keep the virus under management.'

There have been 74 coronavirus deaths across the nation, and at least 6,650 cases detected.

But with nearly 4700 recovered, Australia has dropped below 2000 active cases for the first time since March 23.

 

Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8243431/Gyms-Australia-wont-opened-end-winter-earliest.html


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