Coronavirus: UAE gyms receive advice on how to safely reopen, but no timeframe set

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Dubai: Gym operators in the UAE on Sunday received a list of suggestions from local regulator the Register of Exercise Professionals (REP) detailing things to keep in mind when reopening.

REPs is an independent public register that recognises qualifications and expertise of fitness professionals in the UAE. Launched in 2013, they also provide a system of regulation for instructors and trainers to ensure they meet UAE standards.

No set timeframe to reopening was discussed in the circular, but the notice does give hope to operators who have now been closed for over a month.

Reopening of gyms circular from REPs
Image Credit: Supplied

A statement from Dubai Economy to Gulf News said it had been conducting random inspections at gyms and fitness centres in the emirate.

“The Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector at Dubai Economy has implemented a random inspection campaign across fitness centres and gyms in the emirate,” the statement confirmed. “Especially those in Deira,” it added. “To ensure their commitment to suspending their activities as directed during the first phase of market-reopening in line with the preventive measures being adopted to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“All fitness centres and gyms have complied with the decision to continue the suspension of sports sector activities,” the statement added.

“Activities that can be conducted in the current stage of market re-opening in Dubai, have been identified, including their permissible working hours, and the precautionary measures to be adopted, such as social distancing and wearing masks and gloves.”

Abdul Aziz Al Tannak, Director of the Commercial Control Department at CCCP, said: “We conducted a field inspection to ensure that fitness centres and gyms adhered to the decision to suspend their activities in the current phase of market re-opening. We monitor the activities of businesses in different sectors to ensure their commercial compliance.”

Al Tannak added: “We thank the fitness centres and gyms for their full commitment as we have so far not had to impose any fines on these establishments. It indicates the high awareness of those working in this sector regarding the precautionary measures and related decisions. We also call on consumers to report any non-compliance via the Dubai Consumer App available on Apple, Google, and Huawei stores, by calling 600545555, or on the website.”

Suggestion by REPs

Re-opening of gymns – COVID-19 operational policies (suggestions)

Prior to opening:

  • Enhanced cleaning and proof of disinfection
  • Clubs to outline cleaning protocols – timings, staffing
  • Test staff before they return to work
  • Remove mats, foam rollers, yoga blocks etc from gym floor / studio floor
  • Cleaning schedule in place with a 1 hour clsoing midday to do full disinfection
  • Clubs to send out communication to members explaining new polices and booking procedure
  • Signage of policies and guidelines to posted throughout the club
  • Strategically unplug or switch off machines or remove from the gym floor – ensure equipments are two meters apart

Group classes

  • Grids taped on studio floors to esnure people stay in their spots throughout class
  • Two meters space between each participant
  • Studio should be disinfected after each class
  •  Participants must bring their own mats

Fitness premises

  • Members to reserve access to the club in 90 minute time blocks
  • Temperature checks to be done for everyone entering gym premises
  • Changing rooms to be restricted to use of bathroom only – no showers
  •  Members to bring their own stretch mats
  • Masks to be worn while using the facility

Gym operators said they are complying with all regulations set in place.

Loren Holland – CEO and Founder GymNation said: “All GymNation locations have undergone full medical grade sanitisation and deep cleaning through a Dubai Municipality approved contractor. We will follow all regulatory body guidelines as we reopen including, the introduction of a regular sanitisation programme and an increase in cleaning staff present on site, member temperature checks, and implementing a strict member towel, mask and glove and distancing policy. All GymNation staff have also undergone full training with regards to member health and safety precautions and we will continue to liaise with the relevant government bodies to ensure we are operating over and above the required health and safety standards.”

Loren Holland, CEO and Founder GymNation
Image Credit: Supplied

“Throughout the closure period we have made significant investments in to further enhancing the GymNation product including major refurbishments and extensive planned preventative maintenance across all locations. We have built a brand new, state of the art, boutique HIIT workout studio in our Al Quoz location called BLITZ and have launched a new member app across each of our 3 locations. We’ve managed to retain all of our staff during the closure period as we’ve sold over 1,500 memberships! Some of these are to people who have previously never owned a gym membership but throughout the closure period have realized that health and fitness cannot be taken for granted and are now willing to make the investment and first steps on their fitness journey,” he said.

GymNation currently has over 15,000 members across 3 locations in the UAE – Al Quoz, Bur Dubai and RAK with 5 more GymNation locations will opening up in the UAE in 2020.

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