Gym operators appeal to state government to allow them to open

It has been quiet at Solid Gym since Mar 18.

SIBU, May 15: Gym operators are feeling the pinch since the Movement Control Order (MCO) was enforced on Mar 18 and are appealing to the state government to allow them to re-open.

They have recorded zero income for more than two months now as the running of their business depends heavily on membership fees.

Like other businesses, gyms have had to maintain payment on rent for the premises, utility bills and staff salaries which can run up to five figures a month.

With the conditional MCO extended to June 9, operators are worried about how they can sustain themselves.

The operator of Solid Gym, Lau Kah Yii hoped the state government would look into their predicament and allow them to resume operation soon.

He said they are under increasing pressure as their financial resources are depleting by the day.

“We cannot continue to drag on as we still have bills and staff salary to pay every month. We still have to pay the full rental fee during this difficult period. Even freelance instructors in our gym are affected with the mandatory closure of the gym due to Covid-19,” he said.

Lau said he had been sympathetic with his staff including his part-timers and had given them loans to tide them over the difficult time.

“A lot of our members have been asking me when will the gym open. I can answer them on other things but not on this one as I don’t know also and we like other businesses have to abide by government’s instruction,” he added.

Lau wants the government to allow them to resume operation.

“We are not against the enforcement of CMCO but with most of the positive cases treated at Sibu Hospital being imported ones, we should be allowed to resume operation now,” he said.

He said they would strictly follow the SOP for the gym, if they are given the green light to re-open.

“We will follow the basic SOP like the taking of body temperature of patrons, providing hand sanitizer, and ensuring social distancing,” he assured.

He suggested the social distancing for gym.

“For a gym with an area of 1,000 sq ft, only three persons should be allowed at any one time for between one to one and a half hours. For 2,000 sq ft, six persons and for 3,000 sq ft, nine persons at one time,” he suggested.

“During this period, we only want to maintain our gym and to break-even between income and expenses,” he said.

A freelance instructor of another gym, John Lam said he had lost income due to the closure of the gym.

“The income from my work in the gym is an important one for me. I hope we can resume normal operation soon,” he added.

President of Sibu Bodybuilding and Weightlifting Association, Chia Soon Seong also hoped gyms would be allowed to re-open.

“We know that the gym might be a risky place for the spread of the virus and that we need to abide by the government order. For Sibu, I hope we can re-open when Phase 5 of MCO which ends on June 9,” he said.—DayakDaily