A delegation of gym owners, bodybuilders and fitness trainers met Raj Thackeray on Tuesday at his residence, Krushna Kunj building.
Thackeray while supporting gym owners said, “You restart your gyms, let us see what happens… if the centre has permitted yoga and gyms to reopen by asking them to follow social distancing norms, does the state have a different intellect?” he questioned.
The state government has not included gyms in the list of businesses which were given permission to restart during the Mission Begin Again.
The state had issued a notification on July 27, which allowed reopening of malls, however, no permission was given to gyms for reopening.
According to the Union ministry of health and family welfare advisory issued on August 3, gyms are allowed to reopen by taking some measures such as keeping 6 feet distance between personal trainer and client, limit the number of clients to ensure adequate space among clients, utilise outdoor space if possible.
Prabhakar Kadam, Treasurer, Greater Bombay Bodybuilding Association, who also owns a gym, and is also a bodybuilding coach of Western Railway met MNS chief said that he gave us a ray of hope and invited us to his residence to discuss the issue.
“Gyms play a very important role in the health industry. In this situation, the government has completely neglected this industry, though many employees are dependent on it, which includes small, medium, large scale gyms, yoga centres, fitness studios, supplement shops, gym equipment factories, etc. Due to the lockdown, many gym owners have become bankrupt, as many of their expenses like rent, electricity bills, maintenance charges, etc have remained pending. When gym owners can’t pay their dues, how will they pay salaries of trainers and other staff?” questioned Kadam.
He also pointed out that many gym owners have sold their properties or gold or whatever else they had to clear their debts.
International bodybuilder Sameer Dabilkar who was also a part of the delegation said, “When the lockdown began due to Covid, all of us supported the government’s decision by shutting down gyms and fitness centres. However, now that the state has started even BEST buses for public transport and reopened malls, markets, why can’t we reopen gyms?”
Rahul Tarafe, professional bodybuilder and personal fitness trainer said, “We’ve been without any source of income since the last five months. When no one helps, Raj Thackeray is always there. When all doors were shut, Raj Thackeray has supported us”.