Saying that the coronavirus pandemic caused global economic disasters is nothing new. At the national level, different sectors were affected in a drastic way. Especially those who still could not return to work after more than 80 days of quarantine. In that sense, gyms are going through a critical situation.
Although the activity became more flexible in a large part of the country, there are some points, with the City of Buenos Aires and the Conurbano, which are still in the midst of strict social, preventive and compulsory isolation.
In this sense, Fernando Storchi, president of the Chamber of Gyms of Argentina and founder of the Megatlon chain, considered, in dialogue with Clarion, that “our sector is one of the most punished of the pandemic “ and that “it is the most important crisis we have had in history”.
According to the information of the camera, in Argentina, before the Covid-19 outbreak, there were 8,000 gyms, which generate 80,000 jobs directly. “We already have news that 400 will not reopen. It is around 5%, but the final data we will have when the situation is partially normalized, “he added.
Of all the gyms in the country, “30 or 40% are in the AMBA”, the area most hit by the virus and where the House’s greatest concern is. Luckily, in many provinces they started to open. But the locals in the metropolitan area have had a very strong impact “Storchi said.
Which is the principal problem? “The sector ran out of income. And we all have fixed cost structures: wages, rents, utilities, maintenance. They tried to go down as much as possible, but the costs still exist. While the ATP Government program was very good to help, it is insufficient when you have no income “, Held.
Many merchants chose to rent training material or offer classes online to survive. This is the case of Power Center Gym, in Bernal Oeste. Natalia Moles, one of the owners, told this newspaper: “We are renting the items for easy transportation and the spinning bikes. People write to us on our Instagram (@gympowerbernaloeste). It helped us as a palliative to cover some of the personal and local expenses, but not more. ”
Along the same lines, Storchi added: “Rent generates an income that is very marginal and manages to cover costs in a very low percentage. And online classes are not being charged for the most part. It is a service that they give to the clients that the gym has. ”
Storchi said that they have a protocol prepared for the reopening and that it was presented at the national and provincial levels. They also offered it to the City authorities. “They are analyzing it and we are going to have a next meeting to adjust some issues,” he said.
The protocol seeks to guarantee the distancing, cleaning and disinfection of areas and elements. In order for the 2 meters of separation between people to be met, “50% of customers who did so until March will go”, who “must request a turn to train through an application “. The maximum time for physical activity will be one hour. “They are no longer going to be able to stay three hours in the gym,” he said.
On the other hand, Storchi expressed that clients will have to sign a sworn declaration in which they ensure that they have no symptoms or had contact with those infected with coronavirus. Anyway, it will take them the temperature before entering. Unless they are running on treadmills, they will wear a chinstrap during the activity.
“We are convinced that we can guarantee safe, organized and controlled training by physical education teachers, which is very important,” said the president.
And he added: “The activity of the gyms is neighborhood, proximity. 80% of customers they are in a radius of 700 meters. They do not require public transport. In addition, gymnasiums are health agents, which contribute to physical well-being, emotional and psychic of the people that is fundamental in these times ”.
Gym owners angry
This week, the City empowered residents to go jogging, biking, rollers or walking from 8pm to 8am. The images from the first days showed crowds and that many did not meet the standards.
After seeing what happened in several parks and squares of Buenos Aires, there were owners who expressed that they are not allowed to open and the street did not comply with the distancing measures.
Emiliano Jodra, owner of BE! Functional Training Center, a functional training center in Villa Urquiza, told Clarion: “I saw the images on Monday and the organization was a disaster. The gyms could open with strict protocols that are really followed. I think it is safer than running people to run to the parks side by side “.
Although Natalia’s gym is in the Province, the owner did not remain oblivious to the matter and expressed her discontent. “We propose to open the gym with distance, reduced hours, sanitary security and, even so, we still do not have an answer to be able to work. Meanwhile, in the parks they gather to run overcrowded. Lest the health system collapse for this. It is not understood, “he concluded.