Demanding reopening of Gyms in capital members of Delhi Gym Association on 29th Jan staged a protest, which were closed in view of COVID-19 case surge recently. Hundreds of gym owners took out a protest march to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence to oppose the DDMA’s decision to keep fitness centres closed even as the number of Covid cases have come down in the city.
Demanding that gyms and spas be allowed to reopen, and raising slogans against the government, demonstrators started their march from the Chandgi Ram Akhara to Flagstaff Road in the Civil Lines. They, however, were stopped by police a few metres away from the chief minister’s residence. “Everything has been opened but only gyms are closed; have expenses to pay but no source of income,” said a protestor.
Though the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Thursday lifted the weekend curfew allowing restaurants, bars, and cinema halls to operate with 50 percent capacity, gyms and schools in the city are still shut.
Restrictions had come into force under a ‘yellow alert’ issued by the authority in December last year when the Covid positivity rate had crossed 0.5 percent in the national capital.
“We took out the protest march to make the government and the Delhi lieutenant governor (L-G) hear the plight of gym owners and others engaged in this business,” said Chirag Sethi, president of the Delhi Gym Association (DGA). “The fitness industry has already suffered a lot due to the Covid pandemic in the last two years and not allowing
our establishments to reopen will prove to be a death warrant for our businesses,” he said.
He said that Covid cases in the city have come down drastically and other business establishments such as multiplexes, restaurants, and bars have been allowed to open. Then why are fitness centres not being permitted to function, Sethi asked.
“This is a genuine demand. The government and the DDMA should consider it in its next meeting as soon as possible,” Sethi said. Gyms are always the first to be shut and the last to be opened, he claimed. Even liquor shops and weekly markets in the city are open, but gyms have been asked to be closed, he said.
There are about 5,500 gyms in Delhi and the livelihoods of over 1 lakh people depend on these.