Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Brewing beer is OK but exercise isn’t? Gyms challenge virus closure

Sports clubs and gyms across Mexico have taken an economic punch to the gut since they were forced to close due to coronavirus restrictions, and owners and managers are asking the government to reclassify them as essential businesses and allow them to reopen.

If the same concession was awarded to the beer industry, why not allow exercise to resume as well, argues Alfredo Jiménez de Sandi, president of the Sports Club Managers and Administrators Association, which represents 72 gyms and sports clubs across Mexico.

Many began closing their doors three months ago on March 17, and under the current “stoplight” system they will be one of the last businesses allowed to reopen, along with bars and nightclubs, when states reach a green light or low risk level on the federal government’s chart, something that is unlikely to happen before September.

Jiménez de Sandi is hopeful that the government will reconsider and allow gyms to reopen at a reduced capacity of around 25 to 30%. 

In the meantime, many gyms are optimistically preparing for the day they can once again open their doors to customers and are training employees in hygiene measures and rearranging equipment, entrances and exits to avoid crowding, as well as investing in thermal imaging cameras in order to monitor the temperatures of staff and clients.  

Gyms are also readying discounts and other financial incentives to get people back in their establishments and working out again. 

The economic outlook for this sector of the economy is decidedly bleak. According to Rodrigo Chávez, president of the Mexican Association of Gyms and Clubs the coronavirus has caused losses of up to 6 billion pesos (US $269 million) and put nearly 100,000 jobs at risk.

Mexico’s coronavirus czar, Hugo López-Gatell, is so far not budging on reclassifying and/or reopening exercise clubs any time soon.

“Although relatively small, the risk lies in physical contact, proximity, contact through inert surfaces and, in addition, a physiological condition which is accelerated breathing, which would lead to a greater probability of contagion between people,” the deputy health minister said.

Source: El Financiero (sp), Infobae (sp) 

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