Gyms protest prolonged lockdown closure

CAPE TOWN – Gym and fitness centers held a silent protest in the week with closures of facilities continuing throughout the lockdown.

As these facilities remained closed, growing pressure affects the industry with FitSA’s Grant Austin said that the continued closure may lead to a significant amount of job losses with employees already struggling with their last paychecks made in March.

Many gyms and fitness centers have taken precautionary measures, changes and preparations anticipating a reopening since the introduction of level 3 lockdown, despite the readiness the industry displayed, no green-light came from the government.

Photography: Leon Martinez/Pexels

Austin said that around 29 000 jobs are at risk with a third of the industry announcing retrenchments adding that 14 percent of these companies has already completed retrenchments by the end of July. Adding that nearly half of gyms that cannot open soon, will close with no intent to reopen in the future.

Although Virgin Active had displayed their preparation and readiness for a reopening with a strict set of guidelines, precautions and protocols, the fitness centre chain reportedly announced last month that more than 3 000 of their staff members will see pay cuts of 75 percent.

Many fitness centres are taking to virtual sessions with classes taking place online on various social media platforms, this hasn’t eased the strain enough to avoid a threatening future for most business in the industry.

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