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Dubai lifts restrictions on fitness centres

Dubai lifts restrictions on fitness centres
May 30, 2020

The Dubai government has lifted restrictions on fitness centres allowing their reopening but with varying limited capacities.

The easing of restrictions follows two months of lockdown that included a three-week period in April of some of the strictest measures imposed anywhere in the world, requiring residents to apply for a police permit in order to leave their homes.

Since late April, the restrictions have eased, allowing malls, restaurants and hotels to reopen at reduced capacity and under stringent sanitation and social-distancing rules.

Fitness centres are only allowed to operate at 50% of their normal capacity, while members are required to wear masks at all times during light or moderate physical activity. The masks can be lowered for “strenuous physical exercise”.

The decision to reopen Dubai's fitness sector was made by Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan, who explained that the decision follows a comprehensive assessment of health and socio-economic aspects and a thorough review of the COVID-19 situation.

Sheikh Hamdan advised "we're aware of the pressures many sectors are facing because of the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Society in the UAE has high levels of resilience to crises and challenges. What makes us different is our ability to deal positively with changes and our agility. We have all the elements necessary to adapt to these challenging circumstances."

A statement from Dubai Sports Council advised that separators/partitions (e.g. acrylic dividers) will be installed between sports equipment, if the nature of the sports activity requires it, to ensure protection of people. It outlined regular sanitisation procedures for equipment and workout areas, as well as a no more than 50% capacity in gyms and sports centres. Enclosed areas like locker rooms, showers, changing areas and saunas are to remain closed.

As well as social distancing measures being in place – people must keep a two-meter distance – the use of certain equipment, such as medicine balls, dumbbells, kettlebells, weightlifting belts, bars and plates, is restricted to one person at a time. The kit must also be sanitised after each use.

Group exercise classes are allowed, with classes limited to 10 people – nine participants and one trainer/coach, regardless of the size of the space.

Operators, such as GymNation and Fitness First have reopened while other fitness centres are reviewing their operational procedures before relaunching.

GymNation, which has branches in Bur Dubai and Al Quoz, was among the first to reopen with Chief Executive, Loren Holland advising “we look forward to helping GymNation members get back into their usual exercise routines. While we have always been dedicated to the cleanliness of GymNation locations and the health and safety of our members and staff, we are implementing additional safety and cleanliness measures.”

Equipment has been spaced out to ensure social-distancing measures between members, with both locations having undergone extensive sanitisation programs, and classes to operate at a 50% capacity, with advance bookings via the app required.

Fitness First are advising members that they must book their place as they can operate at half its capacity. Anyone turning up without booking, either for a class or a general workout, will be denied entry.

The number of cardio equipment available at the centre will be down 50% after rearranging them for social distancing. Some items such as boxing gloves will remain unavailable for the time being.

Fitness First urged its customers "to review and accept our agreement to ensure maximum safety and wellbeing for you, other members and our staff”.

Fitness First, among other gyms such as F45, has said it will continue to hold virtual workouts to ensure all members have access to classes.

Image courtesy of GymNation

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