Gym owners to stage protest on Sat, demand fitness centres be allowed to reopen


PTI, Jan 28, 2022, 4:14 PM IST

Source: unsplash

New Delhi:  Owners of gyms and an association representing them on Saturday will stage a protest near the Delhi lieutenant governor’s office to demand reopening of their establishments, which have been shut for a month under Covid restrictions.

Though the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Thursday lifted the weekend curfew and also allowed restaurants, bars and cinema halls to operate with 50 per cent capacity, gyms and schools in the city are still shut.

Restrictions had come into force under a ‘yellow alert’ issued by the authority in December last year when the Covid positivity rate had crossed 0.5 per cent in the national capital.

Delhi Gym Association, vice president, Chirag Sethi, said gym owners have suffered the most due to the Covid pandemic and they should be allowed to reopen their establishments. Gyms are always the first to be shut and the last to be opened, he claimed. ”Cinema halls, multiplexes and banquet halls were shut along with gyms as a first step to curb the virus’ spread in December. But yesterday, everything was opened except for gyms and spas,” Sethi told PTI. ”To oppose this biased decision, we will stage a massive protest outside the L-G’s (lieutenant governor) office. We want authorities to allow us to function and permit us to open our establishments in the next DDMA meeting,” he said.

Sethi said the gym fraternity criticises the DDMA’s decision to keep fitness centres shut, which is affecting the livelihood of over 1 lakh people. Even liquor shops and weekly markets in the city are open, but gyms have been asked to be closed, he said. ”This decision by the government shows that health is never the priority. If the DDMA doesn’t want people to be healthy, please let us know and we will also open liquor shops. This is really unfair to the fitness industry of Delhi,” Sethi rued. He said that gym owners have no option left but to hit the streets and protest to make their voice heard.

In Delhi, there are about 5,500 gyms and over 1 lakh people are dependent on this industry.

Gym and spa owner Pradeep Tyagi said that fitness centres follow all Covid norms, but still they are shut, while there is no action to prevent crowding at weekly markets.

”At such places people hardly follow any norms but authorities don’t bother about it. Our customers and staff are fully vaccinated and follow all norms but still our establishments are shut. We request authorities to permit our establishments to function,” Tyagi said.

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