Sweating safety, many Bangkok gyms opt to stay closed

Workout From Home remains a thing for now. Image: Jetts Thailand / Facebook
Workout From Home remains a thing for now. Image: Jetts Thailand / Facebook

Leg day remains out of reach to most of Bangkok’s gym rats, as fitness centers large and small remained closed despite being given the green light Sunday.

Big chain outfits such as We Fitness, Fitness First, Jetts and Virgin Active choose to remain closed, citing safety concerns and the rules set forth by the government. None has stated a definitive reopening date.

“We want to be confident that we correctly follow the guidelines for our team and member’s safety,” a Virgin Active rep said.

As of Sunday, gyms were allowed to reopen for only free weight use. Use of machines and group classes of more than three persons remain prohibited.

Apart from compiling with the safety measures, there was also a fear of confusing members.

“According to the government’s announcement, we can only reopen about 20% of all facilities of our gym,” said a Fitness First spokesperson reached by phone who declined to give her name. “We haven’t collected any membership fees while closed by the pandemic, so to open partially may cause confusion on this matter.”

The wait-and-see, cautious approach is understandable when everyone is holding their breath until the apparent decline of COVID-19 infections isn’t affected by the reopening of the economy. As painful as the economic hurt is, being the site of a fresh outbreak wouldn’t boost any struggling brands.

A number of smaller gyms signaled more confidence. Though several polled today said they had not reopened, most were poised to welcome guests again soon. Two of three independent Bangkok gyms contacted today said they planned to reopen this week.

Base Bangkok in Soi Sukhumvit 36 said it would reopen tomorrow for personal training class only. It was Wednesday for Fly Me to the Moon in the Ari area, and Physique 57 said its Sukhumvit 49 location may be back in business starting June 1.

A fourth gym, Bangkok Fight Lab, which specializes in martial arts such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, said it would remain closed for now.

“We do have a fitness area, but I want to wait and see what happens over the next week or two before reopening it,” owner Morgan Perkins said, adding that he hopes to “get things going by July at the latest.”

He added that its martial arts and Muay Thai classes would remained closed until the government gave permission to restart them.

Under the revised rules, fitness centers in shopping malls are not yet allowed to reopen.

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