Gyms, fitness studios in S'pore taking extra precautions ahead of easing of Covid-19 rules

Employees at Barre 2 Barre clean the studio in preparations for the reopening (left), and stacking trampolines at their bounce studio. PHOTOS: COURTESY OF BARRE 2 BARRE

SINGAPORE - Gyms and fitness studios here are taking extra precautions ahead of the second stage of Singapore's economy reopening on Monday (June 21).

The industry had been severely impacted during the tightened measures for phase two (heightened alert), which ran from May 16 to June 13, as many of their physical activities offered were restricted.

While indoor, mask-off activities will be allowed to resume, albeit with safe distancing measures in place, some places like Barre 2 Barre in Pickering Street are sticking with its current practices.

Its co-founder, Mrs Jessica Anwar, 33, said she will ask her students and teachers to continue wearing masks at all times. Her studio is expected to operate at 25 per cent capacity and has cancelled higher-intensity classes like bounce, which involves students jumping on a trampoline.

She said: "In our Hong Kong studio, they taught bounce with masks on, and it was harder to breathe.

"We are taking that feedback and decided to cancel bounce classes completely. We will only focus on barre, stretch and pilates classes for now."

As part of the reopening, the Ministry of Health (MOH) set new restrictions on Friday for gyms to follow, including reduced group and class sizes as well as a routine 14-day Fast and Easy Tests (FET) regimen for staff.

In order to adhere to the new group size limit of two - instead of the previous cap of five - gyms such as Elevate 360 at Serangoon Gardens instituted a booking system where trainers reserve slots for their own clients.

Co-founder Twain Teo, 33, said: "This allows us to control flow very tightly and ensure that there are no double bookings or situations where our two client policy is violated."

Public facilities such as ActiveSG gyms and the Singapore Sports Hub will also reopen their programmes at the Water Sports Centre, OCBC Arena and Sports Hub Fitness Studio on Monday.

The OCBC Aquatic Centre will only reopen on June 28 as it is being used to host the June 22-27 Singapore National Swimming Championships.

Gyms have also stepped up their cleaning regimes to ensure their facilities are safe for use.

Employees at Anytime Fitness Nex prepare for reopening by sanitising the gym equipment. PHOTOS: COURTESY OF ANYTIME FITNESS NEX

Ms Teri Ong, who operates Anytime Fitness clubs at Northpoint City, Nex and hillV2, said her outlets are "doing a full and thorough disinfection of the entire club, including equipment cleaning, sanitising all touch points as well as high-rise cleaning and deep carpet shampooing".

Ms Ong, 52, added that the three clubs have developed a proprietary tracking app to display a live count of gym users. The gyms will also do a manual headcount hourly to ensure the accuracy of the number.

Despite the uncertainty and upheaval caused by the pandemic, gym operators are cautiously optimistic and looking forward to resuming business.

Shaun Pang, owner of Hygieia Strength & Conditioning, prepares his gym for the reopening. PHOTO: COURTESY OF HYGIEIA STRENGTH & CONDITIONING

Mr Shaun Pang, 36, owner of Hygieia Strength & Conditioning at Haig Road, said that "85 per cent" of his clients returned to training within two weeks of last June's Phase 2 reopening and he expects similar numbers this time.

He said: "It's been a tough six weeks for all of us in the fitness industry. Our clients are excited to get back to training and I am confident that more clients will return to us in the coming weeks."

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