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President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Saturday 15 August that fitness centres and gyms are permitted to open under the new Level 2 Lockdown regulations, which he said would come into effect as soon as they are published in the national gazette on Tuesday 18 August.
Among a host of restrictions on businesses that were lifted on Saturday – including a long awaited lifting of the ban on cigarettes and alcohol – gyms and fitness centres are now permitted to reopen, much to the delight of South Africa’s fitness enthusiasts, however the country’s largest health service, Virgin Active, say that they aren’t quite ready to welcome their customers back to the iron church.
Gyms, fitness centres permitted to open
If we’re all being honest, the home workouts everyone has become so enthusiastic about during lockdown haven’t exactly cancelled out the stress eating and desire to improve on our culinary skills, so the opening of fitness centres is sure to be a much appreciated and well-needed revival of South Africa’s collective effort to get back to optimal fitness.
Some might be dreading the return though, as those pesky debit orders flex their muscles and return to haunt gym-goers who have comfortably rested on both their athletic and financial laurels during the lockdown.
Government allowed citizens to partake in an hours exercise during level 4 lockdown, and later extended the window of opportunity to permit citizens to exercise at any hour of the day within the realms of the curfew.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said that gyms can open under the condition that they adhere to strict safety protocols that will be outlined in detail in coming days.
“As South Africa moves to lockdown Level 2 on August 18, prohibitions on the sale of alcohol and tobacco products will be lifted. Gyms & fitness centres will be permitted to reopen,” he said.
“Appropriate restrictions and safety precautions will apply to protect public health.”
Virgin Active biding time to structure safety protocols
That being said, Virgin Active has announced that it won’t be coming for you with a payment request just yet, and said that they aren’t quite ready to open their doors to their hundreds of thousands of customers.
Virgin Active spokesperson Carla White said in a statement on Sunday that the gym would take it’s time and prepare its safety protocols.
“Virgin Active engaged Government early into the initial lockdown, making a submission on behalf of the broader fitness industry,” she said.
“While we have been given the green-light to re-open, we will make our specific protocol submissions before we announce a re-opening date. We will not be opening on Tuesday but will update our members accordingly when we have the date,” she said.
She said that members will be able to extend their payment holiday for a further two months, giving those who are still feeling a little shy about heading back to the gym a little longer to consider their options.
“Members will have the option to extend their membership freeze for an additional two months at no cost,” she said.