Gym bosses fear face masks will harm trade

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Health Minister Richard Renouf is to bring a proposition to the States in November to make wearing face coverings mandatory in indoor public spaces to help reduce a second wave of Covid-19.

The government has not ruled out making them compulsory in gyms, but details are still being finalised.

Face masks are not mandatory in gyms in the UK.

‘The Scientific and Technical Advisory Cell have recommended the wearing of face masks in public places as part of measures to keep the number of cases in Jersey low,’ a spokesperson said.

‘The Health Minister has expressed an intention to bring forward proposals to introduce mandatory use [of masks] inside public places, such as shops. Public health officials are therefore developing the policy to support these intentions.

‘Details are being finalised and will be announced in due course.’

Currently the Island’s gyms are operating on a restricted basis, offering activities that have a lower impact on the cardiovascular system, such as weight training. Fitness centres are also using social-distancing measures and complying with hygiene requirements.

Many activities that cause heavier breathing and require physical contact, such as spinning classes and boxing training, have been suspended.

Professionals in the health and fitness sector said that the compulsory wearing of face masks in gyms would kill off the majority of their remaining custom.

Daniel Kirkpatrick, fitness manager at Fitness First, said that the move would have a ‘very negative impact’ on their business.

‘The impact on gyms will be massive. People will freeze their memberships or just cancel them if they
are forced to wear face masks,’ he said.

Richard O’Connor, the co-owner of Bodyrox, added: ‘I think that the only people who will want to continue training if they have to wear face masks are the very dedicated trainers. The others won’t want to do it.

‘I have been to the doctors and had to wear a face mask in there and that was hot and uncomfortable enough.

‘So the majority of people really won’t want to wear them while lifting weights.’

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