GYM owners and managers in Trinidad and Tobago are welcoming the opportunity to opens its doors to vaccinated people on October 11, but one owner is questioning why other sectors are being allowed to function with their customers and employees being unvaccinated.
The entertainment sector, which includes gyms, was given the green light by the Prime Minister on Thursday.
At a covid19 media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann's, Dr Rowley said, “Last fortnight we said we will move toward operating our food-service business places and entertainment places as safe zones. We will provide approval for restaurants, cinemas, bars, theatres, to be utilised by the population – but by the vaccinated population.”
Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young explained that the approvals would be for fully vaccinated people over the age of 12.
The owners of the safe zones must ensure their employees are fully vaccinated.
Owner of CLX Health Centre Lee Beatrice, at the Dr Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence in Macoya, had mixed feelings about the reopening of gyms with all the rules in place.
Beatrice said, “I am a law-abiding citizen. As much as possible we try to abide by the law…there is no provisions in law for me to let go any of my permanent members of staff who have been with me since inception. Suppose these members of staff are unvaccinated?
"How am I going to deny customers who come to the gym who have also been loyal to me for the past year, knowing fully well the science and data states that vaccinated or unvaccinated (people) can contract and/or spread the virus in the same way?”
Beatrice also said, “I am going to get a reduction in rent, because I am catering for the smaller portion of the population now.”
Beatrice said the gym will be operating for shorter hours because of the curfew with fewer customers, and therefore will earn less money.
“If you want the country to be safe, every single business and institution must abide by the same rules. It should not be varying from business to business.”
Beatrice gave the example of supermarkets, where people go more regularly than gyms.
Owner of One Power Barbell in D’Abadie Krystan Hosein said, “Even before the safe zone I always implemented that only vaccinated people would come to the gym…I think that is the way to go. Mostly everybody in my gym is vaccinated and those who are not, that is their choice.”
One Power Barbell is a small gym and Hosein is in regular contact with his clients. The gym serves 15-20 people.
Hosein said he will ensure the rules are enforced and all those who attend are vaccinated.
“It have no bligh here. People already send me all their (vaccination) cards from before.”
Hosein has been encouraging his clients to get vaccinated since vaccines were available.
“We taking all the precautions, everything set up for that already, and because is a small gym, it easy to manage,” Hosein said.
General manager Rondell Brown at Evolution Gym in Chaguanas said, “For me it is what it is. At least we are getting to reopen for some sort of capacity. At least it is better than literally nothing at all.”
Brown is “happy” to hear the news.
Brown is satisfied the staff at Evolution can earn a salary again.
“The majority of the staff is vaccinated. In terms of us having staff support to do the reopening we are there.”
Evolution will sanitise equipment regularly, said Brown.
“We are always on point in terms of sanitisation.”
Brown urged gyms to follow the rules.
“We have to do exactly what is said because to take that risk and be fined and have to be suspended, I don’t think anybody will want to go through that at this point in time, since we coming out of a lockdown and most of us would have been unemployed.”