Covid spike, drop in footfall worry Kochi gyms

Gymnasiums and fitness training centres in the state have taken another hit due to the pandemic.

Published: 26th January 2022 07:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th January 2022 07:03 AM   |  A+A-

A scene from a gym at Edappally in Kochi. Due to rising Covid cases, fitness centres and gyms are seeing fewer clients these days | A Sanesh

Express News Service

KOCHI: Gymnasiums and fitness training centres in the state have taken another hit due to the pandemic. The government has instructed the closure of gyms in districts falling in the ‘C’ category. However, the functioning of the gyms and fitness centres in the districts under the ‘A’ and ‘B’ categories has also come to a halt with most of the clientele staying away due to the Omicron scare.

Gym owners in the capital say they have been struggling and are yet to recover from the impact caused by the lockdowns. While rules are relaxed in districts under ‘A’ category where people can attend social, cultural, religious and public events in limited numbers, no gatherings have been allowed in ‘B’ and ‘C’ categories. 

Currently, only Thiruvananthapuram district is in ‘C’ category. Swimming pools, cinema theatres and gyms are not permitted to function as a result.

“Most of the gyms reopened in August last year adhering to Covid protocol. Premises and machines were frequently disinfected in my establishment. As the gym was shut for months, many machines were jammed. However, I had to pay rent daily without fail. On an average about 50 clients used to come to the gym daily,” says Sanu M S, owner of Physique Fitness Center in the capital.

Sanu said there are no reports that prove the chances of Covid spread are higher in gyms compared to other places such as malls. 

“But gyms are always closed down first. Even if we are permitted to open after a few days, the maintenance cost will itself come to around Rs 12,000,” says the gym owner.

Rajeev P S, owner of RS Gym and Fitness Hub who has been in the industry for eight years, says, “Currently, I own three gyms functioning with 80 clients coming in daily in each gym. However, the sudden closure has put brakes on the daily workout plans of the clients and we are clueless about how to continue with the classes. Apart from the rent, it has become difficult to pay the trainers who depend on the gyms. The equipment will also get damaged if they are not used daily. Last year, I had to spend `20,000 on repairing the equipment.” 

“It would be helpful if the government allowed gyms to function with 50 per cent occupancy. Otherwise, the sector won’t survive this time,” added Rajeev. Meanwhile, many owners in cluster B are also worried 
due to the limited number of clients. “The number of people coming for daily sessions has decreased.

Though we have been running online sessions since March 2020, many of the clients still prefer offline sessions. I am regularly paying the rent of Rs 1 lakh for the space. But I don’t know how I will pay the rent this month since only a few clients are coming,” said Poornima Viswanathan of Zwagg Fitness Studio in Kochi.



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