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Sydney gym faces member backlash over vaccination stance

Sydney gym faces member backlash over vaccination stance
October 28, 2021

A gym in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs has reportedly faced a backlash from members who learned that its owners didn’t want to force staff to get the anti-COVID-19 vaccination to return to work.

As a result, the Titans Fitness gym in the beachside suburb of Coogee is reported to have lost hundreds of members after its owner - who had been pictured participating in joined an anti vax protest - told staff they did not need to be inoculated against COVID-19 to return to work.

However, as reported by Sydney newspaper The Daily Telegraph, Titan Fitness co-founder and Chief Executive, Mets Analin reopened a week after lockdown lifted, amid a backlash from members.

The popular gym was due to re-open for business on 11th October, but an anonymous tip off from Crime Stoppers the night before resulted in a NSW Police compliance visit to the gym amid complaints not all staff were vaccinated.

Management issued an urgent email on the eve of the planned reopening saying discussions with “relevant parties” meant it could not reopen until 1st December.

As a result, several hundred members are reported to have defected to rival gyms prompting Titan Fitness to have a change of heart and re-open its doors last Monday.

The club now insists on users and staff having double vaccinations.

Gym members took to social media to complain about its delayed reopening, with one, Julian Stambe, writing: “Does this have something to do with images of the owners at the anti vax riots?

“We all made an effort in all industries to do the right thing.

“I know so many people that got vaccinated, so they could get back to work as PTs and you guys made a stance and have egg on your face now.”

Writer Jess Lynch joined rival gym Coogee Diggers Fitness last week after learning on social media chat groups about non-vaccinated staff at Titans Fitness.

She wrote “I’m just new to the area and wanted to join a gym but I didn’t have to wait until December, so Diggers was perfect, affordable and staff are friendly.”

Titan Fitness had issued an urgent email to members the eve of its scheduled reopening on 10th October, saying it had taken the “difficult” decision not to reopen until restrictions are eased for all members of our community.

The email advised “the expected date is 1 December 2021. We are hopeful that this day will be brought forward, in which case we would be pleased to open at an earlier time.

“We will however continue to offer virtual classes, personal training and pairs programs.”

Titans Fitness said the delayed reopening was due to unfinished renovation works and Analin’s attendance at the Sydney rally was “in support of the reopening of small business”.

The Daily Telegraph reported that lawyer for the gym George Tsogas, stated “Titan Fitness continually strives to improve its facilities for its members and attended to renovations during the lockdown closure.

“Following discussions with builders, those works were not expected to be completed in time for the 11 October 2021 reopening.

“The works were expedited and Titan Fitness was able to open shortly after that time.

“Titan Fitness holds the safety and well being of its members and the community in very high regard, and its owners are fully vaccinated.”

$800,000 spent on hygiene measures
In June last year, Analin revealed that he had spent $800,000 to make the gym COVIDSafe.

At the time, the Mail Online reported that Analin was prepared to go “above and beyond” for the gym’s 4,000 members, undertaking an $800,000 renovation that included freshly upholstering equipment, replacing walls with timber for easy cleaning and installing a sanitising robot which disinfects floors. The upgrade also saw the installation of new exercise bikes and running machines.

At the time Analin, said he was prepared to do whatever he needed to take his gym to the next step after closing for so long, commenting “I want to show people 'wow they're doing more than everyone else'.”

Images: Titan Fitness in Sydney's eastern suburbs (top), Titan Fitness Chief Executive Mets Analin (middle, credit: Titan Fitness/Facebook) and a man reported to be Analin at the anti-Covid Freedom protest March through Sydney (below).

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