By Chris Maskilone
KOTA KINABALU: A gymnasium operator here has appealed to the Government to allow them to operate based on appointments during the control movement control order (CMCO) period in Sabah.
Director and founder of Level Up Fitness, Kenny Sia said while the industry was supportive of the government-mandated shutdowns to stop the spread of Covid-19, the financial pressure faced by gymnasium operators after closing for two months meant that the industry now on its last legs.
“We have lost 100 per cent of our revenue for two months. Our cash reserves are running out,” he said.
At Level Up Fitness, although over 80 per cent of its employees have agreed to take unpaid leave, Kenny believed it would not be able to last for another month.
“If you are a fitness coach barred from working while your friends in the retail shop sector are earning income, how would you feel? You would leave the industry,” he said.
According to him, in this respect Level Up Fitness has submitted a proposed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for consideration by the state’s Ministry of Youth and Sports.
The proposed SOP included introduction of an online booking system to allow members to enter and work out during specific time slots.
Apart from the basic temperature checks, providing hand sanitisers and tightened cleaning protocols, gymnasium equipment are also required to undergo a complete sanitising process between time slots as part of the SOP.
“If the state’s sports complexes can be opened for state and national athletes, there is no reason why commercial gyms cannot adopt the same SOP and open too,” he said.
“Regular exercise improves your health, strengthens your immunity against viruses and boosts your mental well-being,” he said, adding that benefits of working out are well-documented.
“These are more important than ever now given the isolation and uncertainties faced by Sabahans after the CMCO. Like all Malaysians, gym operators too do not wish for Covid-19 to spread any further,” he said.
Gymnasium operators like Level Up Fitness, he said were committed to ensuring members and employees have the peace of mind when returning home after getting their workouts.
“If crowding is a concern, capacity can be capped, at say, four person per 1,000 sqft. If social distancing is a concern, equipment can be placed two meters apart or with partitions installed.
‘If ventilation is a concern, windows can be opened and powerful exhaust fans installed to create flow of fresh air,” he said.
Kenny said gyms were uniquely positioned to ensure a safe environment if allowed to reopen during CMCO.
“By embracing the new normal, going to the gym should be viewed as no riskier than taking an express bus or dining at a restaurant in the CMCO era.
“We have booking systems, we have members’ contacts, we have access control, we have CCTV tracking. Not a lot of other businesses have that.
“You go to a market and you don’t know who else is there, how many people are there.
“Gyms can do all that and more,” said Kenny.-SabahNewsToday