NEW DELHI: Having termed the closure of gyms as ‘death warrant’ for the business last week, the Delhi Gym Association on Friday welcomed the DDMA’s decision to reopen gyms. Other than reviving the industry, this decision will also help Delhiites get back on the track of fitness, the association said. The restaurant sector, however, is disappointed because they are still not allowed to operate at 100% occupancy.
After protesting for two months and demanding reopening of gyms with at least 50% capacity, association members were celebrating, while getting ready to welcome back customers from February 7. Chirag Sethi, president of Delhi Gym Association, said, “This will help 5 lakh families to survive this financial pandemic. We welcome the DDMA decision to let us reopen gyms.
This has become a fight for survival for gym owners. Most of the states did not shut gyms even day and no Covid spike was seen in those states due to that. We request that we be kept out of yellow zone, as this decision impacts a lot of families.” He assured that Covid protocols will be followed. Sethi also requested Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to waive fixed charges on electricity and water, to help the gym owners in this tough times. He said the waiver will come as a breather.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, while addressing the media, said the operators of gyms, spas and swimming pools have suffered greatly as a result of the prolonged closure of these facilities. Along with this, athletes were having difficulties in preparing. Thus, it has been decided that all gyms, spas and swimming pools will be opened from Monday.
The reaction is not that joyous in the restaurant sector. “While everything else has opened up, why should restaurants still operate with 50% capacity? Delhi is the only metro where restaurants were shut and they are still being asked to run on half occupancy. We are incurring losses. We are working with half the normal staff and can’t call back the rest because there isn’t enough work. Scores are at the receiving end because of this decision of the government, which defies logic,” said Priyank Sukhija, founder and managing director of First Fiddle F&B Ltd, which runs a chain of restaurants.
Restaurateurs plan to meet Deputy CM Sisodia next week and request him to allow them to run on full capacity. Kabir Suri, vice-president of National Restaurant Association of India, said, “We had a meeting with government officials even on Thursday, but they cut down the curfew timing only by an hour, which doesn’t help. The DDMA’s decision is disappointing. We need to go back to full occupancy as well as normal timings like other cities as Covid numbers are on a decline.”