NSW coronavirus restrictions on gyms and other indoor fitness activities like yoga and pilates are lifting next week, but that doesn’t mean things will get back to normal any time soon.
Fitness fanatics are unlikely to be able to get back to their usual routines when their favourite workout spots are allowed to reopen.
From Saturday, June 13 class sizes at indoor fitness activities will be capped at 10 people, while the maximum of 100 people will be allowed in large gyms.
Indoor pools and saunas, as well as tattoo and massage parlours will be allowed to reopen from the same date, with restricted numbers.
Yesterday, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said requests about when gyms would reopen were second only behind beauty salons — this is what you need to know.
Coronavirus update: Follow all the latest news in our daily wrap.You might get turned away
Any indoor classes like yoga, pilates or group fitness training will be limited to 10 people.
Jessica Sullivan, owner of F45 Woolloomooloo, is already preparing to face unhappy members that get turned away.
“I’m getting lots of phone calls, emails, messages. I think it will be harder now coming out of the restrictions for the 10-people rules than previously being shut. It’s going to be very tough,” she said.
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She said her venue had space to accommodate clients without the need to share equipment and the entire premises would be vacated between classes so there’s no crossover.
“The 10-person restriction cripples us in terms of business and financially,” she said.
“It will mean we have [to] go backwards for quite some time with the amount of resourcing and overheads we have.”
Bookings are essential Elixr in Bondi Junction has marked out a reduced number of pilates machines.(Supplied: Elixr)
At Elixr in Bondi Junction, general manager Sue-Anne Chew said online bookings would be mandatory to manage capacity, especially for their popular pilates reformer classes.
“Whatever rules they throw at us, we will adapt to so our members can come back to their sanctuary as soon as possible,” she said.
Among the changes, yoga students will need to bring their own mats, while studios that usually hold up to 24 reformer beds will be spaced out and thoroughly cleaned after use, even encroaching on other areas of the club.
“Everyone’s chomping at the bit to get back to classes. There’s going to be more demand than supply, definitely.”
Outdoor bootcamps are already permitted in NSW with restricted numbers, and one-on-one personal training sessions in outdoor open spaces were never banned as part of the coronavirus social-distancing measures.
What if I’m not doing a class? The number of people allowed in gyms depends on the size of the room the equipment is in.(ABC News: Larissa Romensky)
If you’re looking to work out by yourself in a gym, the number of people allowed to exercise at any time will also be capped.
No more than 100 people will be allowed in large gyms, but that cap will be smaller in many places because everyone must adhere to the four-square-metre rule at all times.
That means if your gym is smaller, the number of people allowed in it at a time will be reduced too — so some people may even opt to stick with home workouts.
Gyms were shut around the country on March 23, but have since reopened in Western Australia, South Australia the ACT and Northern Territory.
Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland have also announced timelines to reopen fitness facilities.
What are the risks?
According to NSW Health, airborne coronavirus transmission is more likely when people are breathing heavily.
“Keeping fit is important however, NSW Health urges anyone feeling even the slightest bit unwell, not to visit the gym,” a spokesperson said.
Research has suggested that COVID-19 can survive on some surfaces for several days, which is why good hand hygiene while using equipment is essential, particularly indoors.
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“Where possible, try and go to the gym when it is less busy and between every equipment change, use hand sanitizer,” the spokesperson said.
They said people doing classes should be spaced at least 1.5m from each other.
“Gyms should be cleaning regularly, using appropriate detergent and disinfectant, particularly on all high touch surfaces.”
What about dance classes? Sydney Ballet Conservatory has 620 students, so reopening will be problematic.(Supplied: Sydney Ballet Conservatory)
Dance classes will be able to open from June 13, but again, numbers will be capped.
While welcoming the news, ballet teacher Felicity Knight from the Sydney Ballet Conservatory said the 10-person limit would cause heartache among some of her 620 students.
“We had a meeting to try and figure out what classes we could let back. Unfortunately, it won’t be all of our students or classes because we are a large school,” she said.
“I’m sure they’re all very excited to have heard the news — to then find out that they can’t actually come back into the studio, we’re going to have to announce that in a very gentle way because there’s going to be lots of disappointed kids.”
She said the school had already started putting restrictions in place before the shutdown, including banning parents from entering the premises.
What’s happening with children’s sport?
Children’s community sport competitions will be able to restart in NSW from July 1.
Mr Hazzard said COVID-19 safety plans for each activity or sport were critical.
“Sport and businesses will need to do things a little differently than in pre-COVID-19 times and following their safety plan is key to keeping people safe,” Mr Hazzard said.
“Reopening kids’ sporting competitions on July 1 gives groups and local government, which manages many of these facilities, time to work through all the new changes.”
While children’s competitions will be up and running next month, there is no timeline for adult sport to restart in NSW.
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