Gymbox has broken ranks and announced it will reopen all its gyms on 4 July, unless the UK government explains why it should not.
CEO Marc Diaper had already taken to social media following the ‘pubs before gyms’ debacle, questioning the government’s motives in holding the gym industry back – now it appears his position has hardened.
Diaper says the sector was led to believe members could be welcomed back on the 4th July, and is yet to be given an explanation as to why this is not being allowed.
He said “As an industry, we’ve been continuously overlooked and led up the garden path on a date for reopening. We’ve been working closely with ukactive and its medical advisors for months and spent huge amounts of time, effort and money getting our clubs ready to reopen safely to our community, with strict protocols in place.
“We’ve been given no explanation from the Government, so we can only assume this decision is purely political. Many businesses in our sector will not be around in the coming months if we’re unable to trade, and thousands of jobs are at risk.
“Pubs opening before gyms is outrageous given the huge health benefits exercise brings. Perhaps if we change our name from Gymbox to Ginbox, Boris will let us open?”
Diaper says Gymbox is also looking at partnerships with pubs to install gym equipment in their establishments, so members can hit the ‘bar-bell’ if that’s what it takes to open.
The operator says it’s confident it has implemented safety measures across all 11 of its gyms to ensure they keep “heart rates up and R rates down” and will go above and beyond the measures being adopted by bars and restaurants when they re-open from 4th July in terms of safety and social distancing.
However, industry insiders say they fear the move could jeopardise reopening for the sector as a whole if the government is antagonised and with an official opening date hoped for in mid-July, question whether this more aggressive approach is wise.
Answering this point, Diaper said: “If industry insiders fear us opening could jeopardise the reopening of the sector…this is implying the government would delay opening gyms because a small chain of 11 gyms – out of over 7,000 in the industry – is simply asking the government to give answers as to why we’re opening after pubs and restaurants.
“ukactive has asked them the same question.
“By delaying us reopening, they are implying to our members that we’re not safe environments and that’s not the case. There is medical evidence to support this.
“Thousands of gyms are at risk of closure over the next few months – and 100,000 jobs could be lost, according to ukactive. Does the government think we’ll just sit back and accept this? No way.
“Industry leaders have already agreed its a purely political move by the government. A political move that’s costing this industry millions in losses on a daily basis.
“Maybe if we all demand some answers we’ll get some – as well as a confirmed opening date.
“Mid-July opening is not even confirmed and from a conversation we had with industry leaders this week, we’re not even holding our breath about that.”
Gymbox safety protocols, include:
Temperature checks on arrival Reduced gym and class capacity to practice social distancing
A doubling up of cleaning teamsHygiene shields at reception
PPE for staffMultiple hand sanitiser stations on the gym floor
Fully contactless entry, and transactions