Health is wealth, gym owners demand a second look

Health is wealth, gym owners demand a second look
Gym file photo

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Gym and fitness facility operators continue to voice their displeasure over not being allowed to reopen as many businesses have this week.

Vaklev Bastian, owner and operator of New Body Resurrection stated in a letter that he was very concerned that gyms and other fitness facilities have not been able to open since April of this year.

“We have liaised with all the gym owners of all the major facilities and they have all followed the COVID-19 protocols as mandated by the Ministry of Health and still they have been denied,” said Bastian.

“We currently not only have pro athletes, but we have athletes who are regional title holders, national team athletes, athletes on college scholarships and seasoned upcoming athletes preparing for the 2021 season and these include athletes all the various sports not just bodybuilding and fitness.

“In addition, the gym facilities closure also denies the persons who need specialized wellness programs from advancing in their exercise prescriptions.”

According to Bastian, there are currently some 10 major gym facilities in Nassau and about five in Grand Bahama.

“To date according to the Ministry of Health reports, no COVID-19 positive cases have been traced back to a gym facility, nor a gym member, trainer or owner,” he continued.

“In addition we see the news paper articles highlighting the fact that obesity has risen during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Many of the COVID-19 victims were in poor health and had preexisting conditions as a result of poor fitness lifestyles and the fact that the most susceptible persons to the COVID-19 are those with weakened immune systems and poor fitness lifestyles.

“Still, the gym facilities and personnel that can help to correct these national concerns and be proactive in the healing and preventative health of the Bahamian people have been forced to close, first ones to close and the last to open.”

According to Bastian, letters were sent and calls were made requesting a meeting with authorities, and gym facility inspections since April.

“Apart from the athletes and clients suffering, the rent, utilities and maintenance bills have not stopped,” he said.

“Employees cannot be paid, their families are affected and gym owners have not been given any type of stimulus package for financial assistance; hence many may have to close their doors for good.

“At this junction, whereas businesses that propose a much higher risk in terms of crowding, lack of sanitation or COVID-19 protocol monitoring, closeness of one on one services and have no benefits of improving health have been allowed to open, we ask why in spite of all the efforts made have our gym facilities still been denied opening.”

Bastian said: “Our plea is in no way political or intended to undermine our leaders or those in authority. When decisions are being made that affect various businesses and industries, key persons from those areas should be invited to meet and help to consult and advise the leaders on how best things can be done.

“Understand that these businesses are our life savings investments and the health of a nation is the wealth of a nation and not only do gyms play a vital part to this equation, but the gym owners contribute to the local economy and our athletes have taken the islands of The Bahamas to the world.”