Fitness and martial arts clubs are closing and their owners and trainers are crying out loud for the government to let them operate and make people healthier and stronger.
The COVID-19 virus has caused their businesses to go on and off. Sadly, the fitness sector has not been tagged as essential by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the government’s supervising body to combat the pandemic.
Monith Pabroa of Elements MMA Club based in Manila said if only the fitness clubs could unite, present a uniformed health protocol suggestion and push for their re-opening, it could save a lot of people’s lives and the industry from going bankrupt.
“We should be allowed to open so that people can maintain their good health. Kung walang ginagawang physical activities at puro kain sa bahay, bababa ang immune system talaga ng tao at magkakasakit,” Pabroa said.
Pabroa added gyms can accommodate vaccinated people while maintaining strict health protocols.
“Lalo na sa Metro Manila, marami na ang nabakunahan. Let them become more fit and healthy para lalong malabanan ‘yang virus na yan,” Pabroa reasoned out.
Metro Manila was placed under General Community Quarantine Alert Level 4 beginning on Sept. 16 and fitness studios and martial arts clubs are among those prohibited to operate.
“Magtu-two years na pero pabalik-balik lang ginagawa (na lockdown) nakasawa na. Sana isama sa strategy ‘yung regular exercise and healthy food,” added Pabroa, who is fortunate to cater to loyal customers via home service.
Meanwhile, fitness trainer Romeo Moderno Jr. has been staying at the Supina Fitness Gym in Malolos, Bulacan since the pandemic struck in 2019. It has been his home which he continues to clean regularly even if it’s not allowed to accept customers yet.
“Hindi ako pinapalabas dito kaya sa gym lang ako palagi, maintenance, linis at disinfect,” said Moderno. “Minsan nga ini-ispar (sparring) ko na sarili ko (para maaliw),” he joked.
He said though that he gets a call from time to time from his loyal clients to do private tutorials, under strict health protocols.
The social media page Buddy PFroject, a fitness club that accepts online tutorials, also posted a long narrative of why fitness gyms should be categorized as essential and allowed to operate with limited capacity.
“We have lost our rights to anything that is beneficial to our mental and physical health. We have to sit back and take the rules and regulations being put in place by the government telling us what they deem is essential,” wrote the fitness club on its socmed account.
“If this will continue, our kids will suffer as well. Walang outlet to release the stress. Our mental health is decreasing! Suicide rate is increasing! Heart diseases increasing! We need endorphins! More endorphins!” it continued.
The fitness club further said that while malls, restaurants, and salons were given the go-signal to resume operations, gyms must also be allowed to open—in order to survive.
“Fitness centers and coaches are part of the solution, not the problem,” the club said.