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Gyms set to reopen on Wednesday with guidelines in place as a precaution Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Sports academies, indoor gyms, sports and fitness clubs will open for business from Wednesday, May 27, according to new regulations issued by the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management on Monday.

Guidelines for reopening have been issued in conjunction with the Department of Economic Development and Dubai Sports Council (DSC).

In an email to Gulf News, DSC shared full details of the measures to be undertaken at local gyms and fitness centres.

The guidelines are as follows

Gyms will open at 50 per cent capacity. Trainers, gym goers, staff will be checked for their temperature. Anyone over 37.5 degrees will not be allowed to enter the fitness facility.

Any person with a cough, temperature, breathing difficulty, respiratory disease or immunodeficiency, shall not be allowed to participate in the sports activities.

All sports facilities equipment tools, and means of transportation shall be sanitised. A permanent sanitisation program shall be put in place and sanitisers shall be provided. A physical distance of at least two metres must be maintained, and separators/partitions (e.g. acrylic dividers) shall be installed between sports equipment, if the nature of the sports activity requires it, to ensure protection of people. Waiting areas, locker, changing rooms, shower baths to be closed and will not be available for use. Trainers and instructors will not be allowed to gather in an area. Bathrooms and toilets must be sanitised after each use. Face masks have to be worn by everyone all the time. Frequently used equipment that are used or touched by members must be cleaned.

Local gyms welcome the decision

Loren Holland – CEO and Founder GymNation said: “We are looking forward to welcoming all of our members back to GymNation after the Eid Al Fitr holidays. Whilst we have always been dedicated to the cleanliness of GymNation locations and the health and safety of our members and staff, we have been working around the clock to ensure that all additional safety and cleanliness measures have been implemented within our gyms, in accordance with government guidelines.

“All of our gym locations have been fully sanitised by a Dubai Municipality approved contractor and this will continue to be carried on a daily basis. We have also ensured that all of our equipment is suitably spaced out to fully comply with social distancing guidelines.”

He added that all staff have undergone extensive COVID-19 protocol training.

Freelance trainer Lesley Jones could not be happier. “It has been a tough few months. I have had zero income. I have a child at school, another daughter in university, besides having to pay for my rent, car. I am just glad we are back in action,” said Jones who has worked in the fitness industry for 20 years now.

She added: “Clients are still concerned about returning to gyms but I hope when they see what safety guidelines are being put in place they shouldn’t worry. As for private clients they are keen to start back so I hope they do.”

Vini Soares, a trainer at the J-Club who has been actively conducting live stream classes during the closure of gyms said he will miss his online sessions as they proved to be a huge success during this time. “The last few months has been really productive adapting to a new routine. Online streaming sessions connected me to people from different parts of the world which was truly exciting.”

Catherine Hanson Farid, director of operations for REPs - an independent, public register which recognises the qualifications and expertise of fitness professionals in the UAE said: “We feel that the fitness industry is part of the solution to COVID-19. It is imperative that people maintain their fitness and also be mindful of healthy eating and leading a healthy lifestyle overall. With the weather getting too hot to exercise outside now, this announcement has come at the right time. This is also great news for Fitness Professionals who have been eager to get back to work and doing what they love- motivating and inspiring individuals to reach their fitness goals,” she said.