From maintaining 6-feet distance to using visor: Centre's guidelines for reopening of gyms from August 5

Updated: 03 August, 2020 16:55 IST | mid-day online correspondent | New Delhi

Those above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of ten years are advised not to use gyms in closed spaces

Photo used for representational purposes
Photo used for representational purposes

As yoga institutes and gymnasiums are slated to open from August 5 as part of the third phase of easing of lockdown, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Monday issued guidelines. Maintaining a distance of six feet, using visor rather than mask and following respiratory etiquette are some of the mandatory points mentioned in the release.

The circular states that Yoga and physical activity being important for health and well-being, it has been decided to open yoga institutes and gymnasiums from August 5. It further states that Yoga institutes and gymnasiums shall have to adhere to protocols and prevention measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

According to the guidelines, those above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of ten years are advised not to use gyms in closed spaces.

"Spas, Sauna, Steam Bath and Swimming Pool shall remain closed," the guidelines stated. Those visiting Yoga institutes and gymnasiums are advised to use face covers or masks at all times within the premises.

"However, during yoga exercise or exercising in gymnasiums, as far as possible only a visor may be used. Use of masks [in particular N-95 masks] during exercise may cause difficulty in breathing," the Health Ministry said in the statement.

People have also been asked to maintain a minimum distance of six feet as far as feasible, practice hand washing with soap, use hand sanitizers, follow respiratory etiquettes, avoid spitting and use Aarogya Setu application.

The government also listed out specific measures for people to follow in a bid to reduce the risk of spread of coronavirus. Before opening the yoga institute and gymnasium, the owners have been directed to redesign the premises including proper placement of equipment.

"Plan yoga, gymnasiums floor area based on four metre square per person, place equipment six feet apart, utilize outdoor space by relocating equipment, create specific pathways for entering and exiting exercise areas using floor or wall markings," the ministry directed.

It also includes ensuring queue management, promoting contactless payment, setting the air-conditioning devices in the range of 24-30 degree Celsius, and relative humidity at 40-70 per cent, and ensuring adequate cross ventilation. Read More Here.

The government asked the gym and yoga institute owners to limit the number of staff and members within the general gymnasium floor, specific workout areas and change rooms and cover dustbins and trash cans.

The ministry added, "The practice of Yogic Kriya(s) may be avoided for the time being. Even if it is to be practiced essentially, it may be done in open spaces."

Key highlights of the guidelines issued by the Health Ministry:

  • Those above 65 years, people with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below 10 have been asked not to use gyms in closed spaces
  • Face cover or mask is mandatory at all times on the premises. But during exercising, only a visor may be used as mask may make breathing difficult
  • It is recommended to use the COVID-19 tracker app Aarogya Setu
  • The yoga or gym floor should have space of four metres per person. Equipment should be kept six feet apart, and wherever possible, they should be moved outdoors
  • Create specific pathways for entering and exiting the building with proper direction markings on the walls
  • For air-conditioning and ventilation, the temperature setting should be in the range of 24-30 degree Celsius with intake of fresh air as much as possible
  • Sessions should be staggered with minimum gap of 15-30 minutes between classes to avoid overlap between members arriving and leaving
  • Restricting the number of people per group in a fitness class should be based on the size of the room and the nature of the activity

Besides this, owners have been asked to keep staggering class session times and allow a minimum of 15-30 minutes between classes to avoid overlap between members arriving and leaving.

"Ensure sessions are tailored to include only exercises that do not require physical contact between the trainer and the clients including setup and use of equipment. Limit the number of clients per session and ensure adequate spacing amongst all clients," the guidelines added.

The gym and yoga institute has been directed to provide personal protection gears like face covers, masks, visors, hand sanitizers to the members, visitors and staff. "Ensure availability of pulse oximeters to record oxygen saturation of members prior to the exercise."

As per the rules, common exercise mats should be avoided and members should preferably bring their own exercise mats, shouting and laughter yoga exercise should not be allowed by the institutes.

(With inputs from IANS)

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First Published: 03 August, 2020 16:32 IST

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