Gym owners in Delhi demand reopening of fitness centres ahead of crucial DDMA meeting

Delhi Gym Association, that has been staging protests and urging the Delhi government to reopen the fitness centres, has also threatened to take a legal route if their demands are not met this time.

Published: 03rd February 2022 05:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd February 2022 05:00 PM   |  A+A-

Weights at a Gym

Representational Image (File photo | EPS)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: Ahead of Delhi Disaster Management Authority's (DDMA) meeting on Friday, gym and spa owners have demanded the reopening of fitness centres here, claiming that the industry has been "ignored" for quite some time and people associated with it have incurred huge losses.

Delhi Gym Association, that has been staging protests and urging the Delhi government to reopen the fitness centres, has also threatened to take a legal route if their demands are not met this time.

The DDMA is scheduled to meet on February 4 to review the COVID-19 situation in the national capital and take a call on reopening of schools and other relaxations.

"We have our fingers crossed. Gyms are open in Gurgaon and Noida. People from Delhi are going there. We are saying when everything else is open why not gyms. Let people decide whether they want to come or not. We will be taking all the precautions," Chirag Sethi, vice president of Delhi Gym Association said.

The DDMA in its last meeting scrapped weekend curfew and allowed bars and restaurants to function at 50 per cent of their seating capacity.

However, it did not allow reopening of gyms in Delhi.

There are about 5,500 gyms in Delhi and the livelihoods of over one lakh people depend on these, according to industry people.

Claiming that the profit margin in the fitness sector is quite slim, Sethi questioned how will the people associated with the industry survive if the gyms remain closed for too long.

"We request the DDMA to look after one lakh people who are directly associated with gyms and five lakh people who are indirectly associated. If you ask these people, there have been no sales," he said.

Sethi's views were echoed by Vikas Jain, Managing Director of Any Time Fitness, which has 35 outlets in Delhi.

"Hoping for gyms to open. This is the industry that has been ignored for a while," he said.

"There is no reason to close the gyms. It is only Delhi where gyms have been closed. Maharashtra did not close the gyms despite having a high number of cases. So why only Delhi?" he asked.

The Delhi Gym Association said there would be massive protests this time if gyms and fitness centres were not allowed to reopen.

"If the decision this time is not in our favour, we will explore all legal options including going to the High Court. Massive protests will be held this time. Definitely, people will come out on streets against it," Sethi said.

Delhi residents are also hoping that the gyms will be opened this time as it has been over a month since they were closed in view of rising COVID-19 cases.

A fitness enthusiast questioned why the government is reluctant to open gyms when restaurants can operate with 50 per cent seating capacity.

"We are dealing with both physical and mental issues during the pandemic. I was infected with Covid during the second wave. After four months of my recovery, I joined the gym but it was shut down again. COVID-19 cases have declined significantly in last two weeks," said Saurabh Verma, 24, a resident of Patparganj.

He said when political programmes can be allowed, restaurants can operate with 50 per cent capacity then why the government is so reluctant to open gyms.

"Gyms can also be opened with some precautions so that people can go there and stay fit," he added.

The number of daily cases in Delhi has been on the decline after the record high of 28,867 on January 13.

The city had recorded a positivity rate of 30.6 per cent on January 14, the highest during the ongoing wave of the pandemic.

It took just 10 days for daily cases to drop below the 10,000 mark.

Delhi reported 27 fatalities and 3,028 cases in a day, while the positivity rate declined to 4.73 per cent, according to data shared by the city's health department on Wednesday.



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