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Gyms in a time of Covid

While Eurobodalla Council is moving ahead to build a new 1000m2 gymnasium at the Batemans Bay Mackay Park leisure centre the gym industry is taking a financial hammering across the State and the country as strict Covid rules are applied. Eurobodalla Council, from the outset, was advised that if the Batemans Bay Swimming Centre was upgraded to include a gym, indoor heated pool and allied health services, these elements would likely be supported by local sporting clubs. Initially Council looked to have a 480m2 gymnasium that was projected to return $200,000 per year if leased ($2,000 per week) however the projected costs to have the facility was in the order of $350,000 ( a net loss of $150,000 per year) Council promoted in their business plan to Grant authorities that they predicted 20,000 per year to come through the gym turnstiles. This equates to 54 people per day. Possibly swayed by "bigger is better" the councillors voted to have the gymnasium extended to 1000m2 in the hope it might attract a larger rental. With gymnasiums across the region, inclusive of the Batemans Bay area, struggling under COVID rules, it appears speculation at best by Eurobodalla Council that their decision to add another gymnasium space to the mix and enter the real estate market competing with other property owners to sway their current lessees to move to the pool area is not such a smart move. Especially in light of their gambling with ratepayers money on a complex that is already $15m over the original budget without a sod being turned. Under the present rules Gyms must have a COVID-19 Safety Hygiene Marshal present at all times the gym is open, and be registered as a COVID Safe business.

This applies to gyms that are indoors and open to members of the public.

If a gym is not open to members of the public, such as a gym in a residential premises (e.g. a home or an apartment building), or in a hotel or workplace, these requirements do not apply.

A gym does not include a dance, yoga, pilates, gymnastics or martial arts studio. Indoor gyms must assign one staff member as a COVID-19 Safe Hygiene Marshal who will be in distinctive clothing (such as a shirt or badge) and responsible for ensuring all aspects of the COVID-19 Safety Plan are being adhered to including overseeing social distancing, cleaning and ensuring the accuracy of record keeping. The identified Safety Marshal/s must always be present whilst the gym is operational, including gyms that operate 24 hours a day. Ensure the number of people in a facility does not exceed one person per 4 square metres of space (excluding staff).

  • Ensure gym or recreation classes or sport activities have no more than 20 participants, plus the instructor and any assistants, per space that complies with one participant per 4 square metres. There may be multiple classes in a room if there is sufficient space to accommodate this, and if the classes remain separate with start and end times staggered to minimise crowding. Ensure participants maintain 1.5 metres physical distance where practical.

  • Ensure any spectators comply with 1.5 metres physical distance where practical, such as through staggered seating. Household contacts are not required to distance.

  • Move or block access to equipment to support 1.5 metres of physical distance between people.

  • Ensure communal facilities such as showers, change rooms and lockers have strategies in place to reduce crowding and promote physical distancing.

  • Where practical, stagger the use of communal facilities. Strongly encourage visitors to shower/change at home where possible.

  • Reduce crowding wherever possible and promote physical distancing with markers on the floor, including where people are asked to queue.

  • Have strategies in place to manage gatherings that may occur immediately outside the premises.

  • Use telephone or video platforms for essential staff meetings where practical.

  • Review regular business deliveries and request contactless delivery and invoicing where practical.

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