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Sep 28, 2020

Health & Fitness Experts Call for the Reopening of Gyms

Gym owners, managers and trainers have come together in a united front to request that their facilities be allowed to open. It has been more than a month since they have had to shutter down and there has been no word on their re-opening. Well, today two of those experts called the press to share their concerns as to why they believe gyms should be allowed to open. Here’s a report from Andrea Polanco.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Gyms have been closed for the past six weeks and with no re-opening date on the horizon, gym owners and trainers are clamoring for the law to allow them to open their doors to their members. These health & fitness experts say that gyms actually can do more good being open during this pandemic.


Albert Garcia

Albert Garcia, Managing Director, EDUCO GYM

“If you look at the key causes of death and even research from the CDC shows that ninety-four percent of deaths are people with pre-existing conditions. In our case, we do know that Belize tends to be a bit higher when it comes to NCDs and it has shown that exercise plays a massive role when it comes to mitigating that. It has shown when it comes to more holistic health in terms of nutrition combined with exercise; it makes a massive difference with what we want to do in terms of encouraging or fostering a healthy environment for everyone else even in terms of fighting off this current pandemic. Apart from that there is the aspect of mental health.  One of the things that a gym provides you with is quality of mind. It is a break from your everyday routine; a break from your stressful thought process to really clear your mind, re-focus, revamp and then go forward. So, for us, we are looking at it that the main thing that people need has been closed down in a time when people need the gyms more than ever.”


While there has been a case of COVID-19 reported at a gym, the health and fitness community argue that the decision to lump gyms as a high exposure setting doesn’t necessarily apply – particularly when compared to other public spaces and places. They point out that social distancing; the wearing of masks and other COVID-19 control measures area easily implemented.


Darwin Gallardo

Darwin Gallardo, Owner, Muscle Hut Fitness Club

“I saw a picture the other day of a bus being crammed with people standing and people are breathing on each other and those buses are hot – why are you not allowing gyms to open when we follow the rules. We launched a survey last week Thursday or Friday and we have over two hundred and ten responses, all positive and we even included a part where people can express themselves and every single person on it said that their gyms have been following protocols. They been praising every gym; Muscle Hut; Educo; Power House – so why is it that we are not allowed with the guidelines that we were given? We were doing fine.”


Albert Garcia

“In terms of Worrying about the extra breaths that people take – train with a mask. Paul, for example, I know you don’t have a problem with that. When it comes to sweating some gyms can look at adopting air condition. If not, clients are especially happy to clean up immediately after and have their towels with them to ensure that they are taking responsibility. With this going forward, with the social distancing that is quite easy. Every gym that we have spoken with say they are happy with adhering to whatever protocols could be put in place.”


And these health and fitness professionals say that online sessions have their own limitations  – and they want to re-open now – after all other gym facilities are being allowed to operate:


Albert Garcia

“In terms of that one on one connection with the clients it makes a big difference and it is not something you can suffice online. Apart from that, people have different issues especially when we are looking at this pandemic, it tends to affect older people or the people with underlying conditions and these people need that extra help and that motivation and doing the training online doesn’t fully provide for that. Separate from that, we want to look at allowing people to get the proper form and so when you are training online you are not there with the person one on one to fix certain things, of course with minimal contact. So, that one on one support that you get versus doing an online training which limits everything.”


Darwin Gallardo

“All we are looking at is equality across the country. The country is opening up October first. Another point is that hotel gyms are allowed – what’s stopping us from open now. How is that fair? They are following their guidelines; we are following our guidelines. We have our equipment six feet apart and the people respecting six feet apart. So, why are the hotel gyms being allowed to open? It isn’t fair, Give us the same opportunity and not just give us ten people at a time. Give us more because the gym is big and we can spread them out.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.


As an update, one of the industry players contacted us to say that they have been requested to submit a proposal to the N.O.C.  They are hoping to get that document endorsed by all those in the industry so that it can be tabled at the next meeting.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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