No fear, no fuss as Singapore gyms adapt to new vaccination-differentiated rules

True Group and Anytime Fitness have given unvaccinated members the option of freezing their memberships for the time being.
True Group and Anytime Fitness have given unvaccinated members the option of freezing their memberships for the time being.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Stricter vaccination-differentiated rules are set to take effect from Wednesday (Oct 13), but gym owners whom The Straits Times spoke to are taking the latest measures in their stride, saying they are not worried as most of their members are fully vaccinated.

From Wednesday, only vaccinated individuals will be allowed into shopping malls - which also house a number of gyms - and standalone stores that are not supermarkets.

Those who have recovered from Covid-19, or have a valid negative pre-event test (PET) result, are also considered fully vaccinated.

The new measures are part of a move to protect unvaccinated individuals in the community and reduce the strain on the healthcare system, said the Ministry of Health last Saturday.

Some, like Teri Ong, who operates Anytime Fitness clubs at Northpoint City, Nex and HillV2, welcomed the new measures and said that the outlets had only admitted vaccinated members – not including those with negative PET results – since Aug 10, when mask-off, high-intensity activities were allowed to resume indoors after phase two (heightened alert) measure were eased.

She said: “The majority of our members are vaccinated and when you are in an environment where you know everyone is vaccinated, you feel safe. 

“Based on feedback from our members, we know that our members are supportive of our measures.”

True Group has introduced a rule mandating that only members who are fully vaccinated - including those who produce a negative PET result - will be allowed into its 10 branches as these are located in malls.

The company had adopted a phased approach to allowing mask-off activities in its outlets to give members the time to receive the full regimen of their vaccines. While unvaccinated members could still enter the gyms if they produced a negative PET, Tan noted that most choose not to.

True Group director Sean Tan said: "As over 99 per cent of our members are vaccinated, our operations are mainly affected by capacity constraints and safe management measures, rather than the vaccine-related differentiated measures."

With the measures kicking in on Wednesday, True Group and Anytime Fitness have given unvaccinated members the option of freezing their memberships for the time being.

Others like fitness and martial arts studio Neue Fit, which is located at Kallang Wave Mall, also conduct outdoor classes, although co-founder Grace Huang said that most of the unvaccinated members are waiting to receive their full regimen before returning.

Before the latest measures were announced, the studio had classes for mask-on activities that were open to all and mask-off classes for vaccinated individuals, which she estimates make up about 97 to 98 per cent of members.

Huang said: "Now we can't do it because they won't be able to come into the malls. I personally didn't want to force it but unfortunately because of the situation, we'll only be able to run fully vaccinated classes.

"As people are transitioning into vaccinations, some will be affected for the next couple of weeks. I'm just grateful that we weren't asked to close again or the measures weren't tightened again because we've really borne the brunt of it this year with gym closures."