Categories: Technology

The Fitness Industry in Maharashtra can look for a silver lining

The Fitness Industry in Maharashtra can look for a silver lining with Public Health minister Rajesh Tope ruling out any…

The Fitness Industry in Maharashtra can look for a silver lining with Public Health minister Rajesh Tope ruling out any further large lockdowns and readying SOP for gyms to reopen. On Wednesday, July 23, 2020 the state health minister stated his intent on reopening more sectors and there is no question of any more large-scale lockdown.

The state plans a step-by-step unlock plan starting from openings of shopping malls, allowing increased attendance in private offices and finally also reconsidering opening up of gyms across the state. Last to open in the unlock phase would be public, religious and political gatherings as they are not identified as a necessity.

Gyms, Health and Fitness centers help maintain positive mindset, resilience to stress and mental alertness. Also, majorly benefits in building immunity that is extremely essential to fight the pandemic. And hence Fitness centers across the United States, Europe, Australia, Middle East to name among the few have already re-opened to the public. And we can hope and look forward to this, in the state of Maharashtra as well. Most western countries opened gyms by June first week and Middle east by mid of June. In the month of August, we can look at developments in this area for the state of Maharashtra.

The state is currently finalizing standard operating procedures (SOP’s) to soon restart gyms and other establishments. SOP’s need to be formulated around various preventive measures and regulations with social distancing norms and precautions on use of personal protective equipment.

FitnessForce is associated with IndiaActive, an association that is fighting tirelessly to save and grow the fitness industry. IndiaActive has been formed to address the immediate & long term problems of the Fitness Industry. And during the current pandemic phase to address the issues being faced by the gyms, gym chains, stand-alone gyms, group-ex studios, functional training facilities of all formats across India in the 1st phase of unlock.

Few of the current problems of the fitness industry in the pandemic times have been identified as ongoing rents and no clarity on the future of how the fitness industry will operate in India in the new world, post Covid-19.

In countries where gyms have already re-opened, the SOP’s are laid to ensure

  • A limited number of members are allowed in the facility, depending on the size of the gym
  • Reserve a block of time in advance, with staff cleaning the facility between blocks
  • Set stringent policies for cleaning and disinfecting the facility and usage the locker room or bathroom
  • Cleaning equipment before and after using it.
  • And unavailability of some equipment that’s difficult to clean, such as foam rollers and yoga blocks.

Likewise, while there are considerations on the Fitness Industry to re-open in the state of Maharashtra it is imperative for gyms and fitness centers to consider multiple precautions with social distancing. To include a few

  • Training to the gym staff and trainers on social distancing norms to ensure that they are ready to service the members in a safe and hygienic manner (handling shifts, breaks, client sessions, etc.)
  • Social Distancing – Proximity norms – with facemask
  • No visitor policy where family and friends of the gym members cannot be permitted to enter the gym facility
  • Make more space to give room to work-out on their own, without contacting other people or equipment
  • Implement robust cleaning practices as hygiene today is everything! Constant and regular cleaning and sanitization, gym members use anti-bacterial while entering the facility and before and after using the equipment.
  • Revised operations manual – Education of the staff via internal communication.
  • Internal Signage like “Thank you for maintaining distance”, “Machine not available to maintain physical distancing”, “Mask is mandatory” to be placed at multiple places to remind members to maintain the necessary precautions.

Preparedness and following the SOP’s laid down by the state or central government will enable the Fitness Industry to successfully serve their gym members. If Maharashtra becomes the first state to deploy SOP’s for gyms and fitness centers, it may set precedence to the rest of the states to set similar standards.

Image reference: https://www.straitstimes.com/sport/coronavirus-increased-safety-measures-at-sports-facilities-as-demand-surges

Wilma Lasrado

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