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Administrative assistant Stefon Villafana is seen sanitising equipment as part of his new responsibilities at Gold’s Gym, Saddle Road, Maraval, yesterday.

Peter Christopher and

Shastri Boodan

There was no major rush to the gyms yesterday, but there was a sense of relief for both employees and patrons alike that they were able to these various fitness centres were allowed to reopen.

“I can’t really put into words how excited I am because this is what I am accustomed to, this is what I love and to be away from it for so long and not being able to do much about it can really take a toll on you mentally,” said Micah Espinet, a personal trainer at Gold’s Gym in Maraval.

Most gyms Guardian visited yesterday said they did not expect a turnout anywhere near the 50 per cent capacity, and even would put further restrictions on the number of persons in the facility. At the Fitness Centre at Starlite Shopping Plaza Diego Martin, we were told that a maximum of 15 persons would be allowed in the gym which could hold up to 100.

Similarly at Gold’s Gym, they said they would consider capping the numbers if they felt it would affect the safety of patrons.

“Given the restrictions, we are allowing 50 per cent capacity as the Minister would have said but because, but if we realize that there is flop we will limit to 25 to 35, that is basically it. We have suspended all of our classes just until we have the OK perform at our full 100 per cent,” said Stefon Villafana, the Maraval gym’s administrative assistant.

The gym operators said while some patrons expressed excitement to return to the gym.

“From the time that the prime minister made the announcement, persons would have been messaging if it was true that the gym would be opening on Monday and a lot of people they were excited to come out back to work out. The excitement and the joy you could have felt it, from the text, from the calls,” said Alvin Goodman at the Fitness Centre in Chaguanas.

But they did not expect large turnouts, particularly without the Carnival season pushing people to strive for fitness.

“I expect there to be a smaller turnout seeing as a lot of people use Carnival as a motivation to get in shape despite no Carnival session,” said Espinet.

Villafana said this would create a challenge but he also sought to look on the bright side.

“What we do is we advertise accordingly and we put out a lot of offers to attract the correct audience but we have been struggling obviously because we are a gym because we still stick it out to our best capacity, most people aren’t opened after second lockdown, we are and fully functional for business,” he said.

Enthusiasts similarly were grateful.

“It was good that he decided to open back the gyms, in the meantime I was doing my workout at home or in the park but otherwise I am happy that the gyms are opened back,” said Julius Martin.

Adrian Reds, who also exercises at the Fitness Centre, said he gained 20 pounds. However, Reds said he has been working out for the last eight years and should lose the weight in a month’s time.

Julius Martin, another gym member at the Fitness Centre, said he also put on weight. Martin said he was glad that the Government eased the restrictions. Martin said he was working out at home and at parks.

Justine Chan Chow, the manager of Central Athletic at Montrose said her organisation was working on a system of appointments where members could call in and would be placed on a roster.

She said the gym was using social media to communicate with members about the appointment system.

Chan Chow said she was happy that gyms were opened and her staff was trying their best to ensure the guidelines were followed.