Gym operators grapple with impending three-week shutdown
Forced to close under stricter measures, some look to take classes outdoors and online
The announcement that indoor gyms and fitness studios will have to close for three weeks as part of stricter measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 caught a number of operators by surprise, but not Mr Yen Wong, co-founder of The Garage gym.
When he heard of the new cases including the cluster at Tan Tock Seng Hospital last week, he suspected new curbs were on the way.
Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, Mr Wong, 40, said: "We were prepared for such an announcement when we saw the number of cases grow."
The Garage offers high-intensity interval training (Hiit) classes.
Apart from extending members' packages for a month, the gym is exploring new ways to serve its customers. "Online classes are starting to lose its appeal as there is a lot of such resources available for free online," said Mr Wong.
"We are looking to see if we can conduct our Hiit sessions for members at places such as parks and stadiums to ensure their fitness journeys are not disrupted."
The multi-ministry task force tackling the pandemic announced stricter measures on Tuesday, including the closure of gyms and fitness studios from Saturday to May 30. The enclosed setting of such facilities offers a higher risk of virus transmission.
Mr Johnny Yeo, owner of Fitness Bravo, said its members will be given an extension of four weeks for their packages.
He said: "We fully support and understand the measures to contain the spread of the virus, but our business and cash flow will be impacted.
"Hopefully, the Government and our landlord can look into this to help us during this difficult time."
Having had the experience of conducting outdoor classes, head coach and operation manager at CrossFit Urban Edge, Mr Samson Lau, said it is a challenge as there is limited equipment to work with.
He is also worried over the impact on the business.
"This is my rice bowl and I have been working in fitness all my life. I just hope that the situation will improve and there is no extension to the closure," said Mr Lau, 30.
An online petition to keep gyms and fitness studios open, or for the provision of some support measures, saw close to 6,000 signatures last night.
"This announcement of a closure is discouraging to say the least as this year has been tough on the industry as a whole," said Mr Bryan Tay, 33, founder of Boom.
"We are currently running at 40 per cent capacity... This heavily affects the revenue stream."
Gym-goers TNP spoke to are taking the news in stride.
Marketing manager Lucas Foo, 33, who works out at Fitness First and Barry's Bootcamp, said he will resume the home workout routine he did during the circuit breaker and also go on daily runs.
Ms Natalie Yeo, who is in her 20s and works in the financial sector, goes to the gym five to six times a week.
She said: "I was a little bummed out at first, especially since my husband and I are regular gym-goers, but we recognise there is a need to limit interactions in confined spaces among maskless people to minimise possible spread of the virus."