Virgin Active allows Covid-19 wary gym fanatics to freeze debit order for two months

Fitness lovers are patiently waiting to return to gyms across the country. Picture: Supplied

Fitness lovers are patiently waiting to return to gyms across the country. Picture: Supplied

Published Aug 25, 2020


Johannesburg – Virgin Active says it will allow gym fanatics who are wary of Covid-19 to freeze their debit orders for two more months.

This follows after gyms were allowed to reopen for the first time in five months when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the country would be easing into level 2 from last Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Virgin Active said the restrictions were still tough on the industry as they were not permitted to have more than 50 people in the gym at a time.

Virgin Active said the blanket restrictions on gym capacity meant that staff work in rotational shifts and at reduced hours, meaning salaries would continue to be well below pre-lockdown rates.

“For members who are not comfortable to yet return, we have offered to extend the existing freeze on their memberships for September and October at no cost.” a spokesperson said.

The company said the 50 person per gym at a time limit did not make sense, as some gyms were 5 000 square metres in size.

“We are significantly constrained by the government restriction of 50 people in a club at a time despite some clubs being as big as 5 000m², which means that we can only have one member per 100m², compared to international norms of one member per 7m².

“Gyms range in size from 50m² to 5 000m² and a single 50-person limit for all gyms is not appropriate. We are monitoring access on a live monitoring tool and showing capacity on the website for each club,” said Virgin Active.

In July, the company announced it was laying off over 3 000 staff members and would assist with a 25% of their salaries despite being laid off.

On Tuesday, Virgin Active said their research had showed them that they would be expecting between 75 and 85% of their clients to return to gym once they opened again.

“We reopened yesterday and have seen eagerness by our members to get back to our fully equipped clubs.

’’The response from members has been incredibly positive with some great feedback not only on the measures we have implemented but also for our teams in how they have handled the changes.

“This trend mirrors what we have seen in our other markets around the world, and we anticipate the numbers to gradually increase,” said a spokesperson for Virgin Active.

Virgin Active said it had installed a high-frequency air exchange for increased ventilation; group class capacities have been reduced; equipment has been spaced to ensure considerable social distancing in the large and spacious clubs typical of Virgin Active; and health and hygiene teams sanitise on high rotation using hospital-grade products.


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