Bengaluru: Give relief or keep us open, say gyms | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: The state government’s decision to shut gyms as part of the fresh Covid containment measures has not gone down well with fitness studio operators in Bengaluru.
A segment already facing job losses and shutdowns, fitness centres are now grappling with angry new customers who are demanding their membership fee back.
The Karnataka State Gymnasium and Fitness Owners’ Association on Saturday demanded the government should either announce a financial relief package to support gym operators or allow them to run their business at 50 per cent capacity.
“The government’s intention is appreciable, but there is no point in shutting down businesses citing Covid, that too at a time when gym operators are in the recovery phase,” the association stated.
“People use gyms to improve fitness and immunity. So, it is ironic that the government wants such spaces to be shut down,” said AV Ravi, the association president.
Ravi pointed out that the lockdown has already led to the closure of over 2,000 gyms across Karnataka.
“About 7,500 gymnasiums are staring at permanent shutdown,” he said. It is estimated that 1.5 lakh people, including trainers and other staff, are employed in the fitness industry.
“Many lost their jobs during the initial lockdown. The latest move would push several others to the verge of losing jobs,” Ravi added.
Owners, who have been struggling to bring their fitness business back on track, are facing the wrath of customers ever since the government ordered the gyms to be shut.
“Many of them who enrolled a week or two weeks ago are demanding their money back,” said Ravi.
He clarified that the association was not against the government’s decision to curb the spread.
“When restaurants and movie theatres run with 50 per cent attendance, why cannot gyms operate the same way,” he asked.
Gymnasiums in Karnataka rake in revenue of about Rs 20 crore.
“We pay taxes to the government. No relief was provided when the lockdown was announced. Many wound up their businesses since they were not able to pay rent and staff salaries,” said Harish S, operations manager of Addict Fitness in Banashankari.
Bharath Balasubramanya, secretary of the fitness owners’ association, said that gymnasiums were strictly adhering to Covid protocols mandated by the government.

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Sagar Biswas

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