Gyms going the extra mile to keep patrons safe
They prepare for Friday's reopening by rolling out new measures
Gyms have readied themselves for reopening on Friday by instituting new protocols to keep customers safe.
Sports facilities are scheduled to welcome back fitness enthusiasts as part of Phase 2 of the post-circuit breaker period, which begins in two days.
They include stadia, swimming complexes, sports halls, fields, hardcourts, gyms, fitness studios and bowling centres, as well as similar facilities in private settings such as condominiums, and golf and country clubs.
Sports facilities have been closed since April 7, when Singapore entered a two-month circuit breaker to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Safra, which is reopening its EnergyOne gyms at its Mount Faber, Jurong, Punggol, Tampines, Toa Payoh and Yishun clubs on Friday, has rolled out a slew of measures to keep its patrons and staff safe.
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Besides requiring use of the SafeEntry app for contract tracing and positioning gym equipment so patrons can maintain a safety distance of at least one metre, Safra has also adopted the use of a self-disinfecting coating and sanitising mats.
Said Safra's deputy chief executive officer (operations) Yap Mong Nah: "Many of these measures are beyond the guidelines prescribed by the authorities, but this extra mile is worth going if it keeps our members safe, especially in a high surface contact facility such as the gym."
In a media release, Safra said "SDPro anti-microbial coating, which kills viruses, bacteria and fungi", will be applied to all equipment and commonly touched surfaces.
In addition, sanitising mats have been installed at all of its gym entrances to disinfect the shoes of gym-goers.
Patrons will also be provided with sanitising wipes and encouraged to wipe down equipment after use.
True Group, which runs seven True Fitness and three TFX facilities islandwide, said it would more than double the frequency of cleaning and sanitisation of its premises by reducing the intervals between classes.
Ken Mok, chief executive of True Group, told The New Paper: "We have also increased the frequency of club-wide cleaning and sanitisation of equipment and touch points.
"The gap time between classes has been increased to allow more time for cleaning/sanitisation of studios."
At Safra Punggol, EnergyOne will be trialling shields between cardio machines such as treadmills, stationary bikes and steppers. The 2m high and 1.2m wide acrylic shields aim to "minimise the dispersion of respiratory droplets as... (patrons) engage in high- intensity workouts".
With the capacity of gyms likely to be reduced, both EnergyOne and True Group will offer real-time online updates on the number of people in their facilities.
MVRCK gym on Alexandra Road said that, while they are awaiting guidelines from national sports agency Sport Singapore, their initial plans are to reduce the capacity of the gym from 10 to five to ensure a 1.5m safety distance between patrons.
DROP IN CUSTOMERS
The facility, which saw between 30 and 40 customers per week before the circuit breaker measures kicked in, said it is expecting a 60 per cent drop in customers.
Said Wyl Ng, a coach at MVRCK: "Assuming we have five persons per class, the turnover is just not high enough for us to actively accept new members. It's pointless too, because they will not be able to book their classes due to the size limitations. So I would say we probably would still see a 60 per cent loss."
Not everyone is raring to return to the gym.
Ben Cai, who frequented the gym thrice a week before the circuit breaker, has since purchased weights and a workout bench online during the hiatus. He has also taken his twice weekly 5km runs indoors, on his home treadmill.
The 39-year-old says he plans to freeze his Fitness First membership "at least till end of the year" and will continue to work out at home.