Aussie gyms will re-open soon, but with catches

Breathe easy, gym rats and meat heads. Fitness centers will be back open soon, according to the economic revival plan presented by our dear PM Morrison.

In “Step One” (there are three) of his “Roadmap to a COVIDSafe Australia,” outdoor gyms will be permitted to open back up, with a maximum capacity of 10 people. Swimming pools will also be open, with unspecified “restrictions.”

Indoor gyms won’t be back in action, however, until “Step Two,” and then only 20 people can work out at a time. It is unclear if that means 20 people in the entire building, or 20 people per room. Fitness Australia CEO Barrie Elvish assumes it’s the latter, since, according to him, allowing only 20 people into a fitness center is “not going to be commercially viable.”

“I’m a little bit disappointed we couldn’t make stage one in terms of our gym facilities,” Elvish said, “but really pleased that the Prime Minister and Chief Medical Officer have specifically mentioned gyms and exercise as going in at stage two. We’re now really keen to work with each individual state to see if we can fast-track some aspects. We know some states will go to stage two sooner than others.”

In any case, your workout experience is not going be the same as it was before. In addition to limited gym capacity, which means you might want to bring a 2-way radio with you in order to communicate with your mates, a host of other restrictions are to be put in place.

“Those protocols include things like social distancing, disabling water bubblers and showers, people must bring their own towels and drink bottles, increased signage, increased sanitation stations, if they have a PA system reminders every half hour or so to keep their distance, and exercise professional staff demonstrating good behaviour,” Elvish explained.

He continued: “If you had treadmills or spin cycles, the protocol is you’d disable every second or third one, so you can’t get on it subconsciously, and also gym staff will have to be much more proactive in both cleaning equipment as they walk around, but also reminding people that they need to practice social distancing.”

Also opening during Step One are restaurants, cafes, playgrounds, libraries, community centres, and boot camps. With that said, public gatherings are restricted to 10 people, which seems to clash with the idea of opening restaurants and cafes. Local and regional travel is also allowed in Step One.

Step Two allows for “some interstate travel,” gyms and beauty salons (20 people max), and public gatherings of up to 20 people.

Finally, Step Three will see gatherings of up to 100 people (so no concerts or sporting events, presumably). Clubs, food courts and saunas will be open for business, people will “return to work,” restrictions on interstate travel will be lifted, and some international travel will be allowed.

The objective is to reach Step Three some time in July.

“We now need to get 1 million Australians back to work,” was how Morrison summed it up.