The Delhi government on Sunday allowed gyms and yoga centres, which have stayed shut for more than five months under the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), to reopen.
Delhi chief secretary Vijay Dev issued the order Sunday night. The trial period of weekly markets has also been extended to September 30. All these activities, including opening of gyms, are not allowed in containment zones, the order said. Delhi had 1,488 containment zones as on Sunday.
There are over 6,000 gyms and fitness centres across the national Capital employing over 100,000 people.
The Central government under its unlock-3 guidelines issued on July 29 had allowed gymnasiums and yoga centres to open across the country from August 5. But the Delhi disaster management authority (DDMA) headed by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal did not allow resumption of these services owing to the rising Covid-19 cases in the city.
On August 6, the Delhi government had sent a file to open hotels, weekly markets, gyms and yoga centres in the city to L-G office. Following this, the DDMA on August 19 had allowed opening of hotels and weekly markets, but gyms and yoga centres continued to be prohibited.
Sunday’s order stated that gyms and yoga centres will be allowed to operate with immediate effect only if they strictly follow the standard operating procedures (SOP) laid down by the Union ministry of health and family welfare.
“In case of any violation, owner and manger of the premises shall be liable for persecution under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides sealing of such premises forthwith,” the order, seen by HT, read.
It also directed all district disaster management authorities to ensure that gyms and yoga centres comply strictly the SOPs to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The SOPs for gyms issued by the Centre on August 3 restricted yoga and workout sessions to only such activities that do not require trainers to touch members and not more than 10 persons per 1,000 sq feet space.
Facilities like sauna, shower, body massage and spas will also not be available until further orders. All other social distancing and preventive measures, like hand hygiene and thermal screening at the entrance, are to be strictly followed by members and gym/yoga organisers.
Under the SOPs issued for gyms and yoga centres by the Union health ministry, face masks will be mandatory at all times within centre premises. Gyms and yoga institutes must ensure a minimum distance of 6 feet between individuals and plan floor area based on 4 metre square per person. They should try and utilise outdoor space by relocating or offering online training classes wherever possible.
Gym owners will have to ensure specific entry and exit pathways by floor and/or wall markings and precautionary instructions on posters will have to be placed within closed spaces