NEW DELHI: Delhi Gym Association representatives and owners of gyms across the city Thursday staged a protest outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence, demanding they be allowed to reopen their fitness centres which have been shut for over 20 days due to the spike in Covid cases.
Gyms were closed in the city during the yellow alert which was sounded by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) when the positivity rate of COVID-19 cases had crossed 0.5% in December last year.
The protesters also carried empty liquor bottles to argue that if liquor vends can remain open gyms can too.
They said that all the other activities are kept open but gyms are always the first ones to be closed.
They argued that in the neighbouring states also, gyms are open and no spike in the cases of Covid is seen from the gym.
Delhi Gym Association Vice President Chirag Sethi said it was unfair on the part of the Delhi government and the DDMA to close gyms when everything else, even liquor shops, is open.
"In the last 20 months our gyms have been closed for 9 months. How are we going to survive like this? How will we pay rent, fixed electricity and water charges, take care of our family? In evening, if your kid goes out where you want them to go, at a wine shop or to a gym which makes their body and mind healthy," Sethi said.
In Delhi, there are 5500 gyms and over 1 lakh people are dependent on the fitness industry for their livelihood.
"Gyms build immunity, it's easy to track people in gyms in case someone is found Covid positive compare to a restaurant or weekly markets. The businesses that promote immunity are asked to shut but wine shops are open," Sethi lamented.
Delhi on Thursday reported 12,306 fresh COVID-19 cases and 43 more fatalities due to the viral disease, while the positivity rate dipped to 21.
48 per cent, according to data shared by the city health department.
This is the highest number of deaths reported in a day since June 10, 2021, when 44 fatalities were recorded.