New South Wales

‘Everyone was smiling under their masks’: Sydney rushes back to the gym

Mr Elvish said he hoped the same positivity would continue through to December, when unvaccinated patrons will be able to join in. Until then, he is pushing for the NSW government’s financial support to continue as gyms are still operating with significantly reduced capacity.

He also hoped to see further relaxation of the requirement to wear masks in group classes and said there was “some confusion” about the rules – especially since, at least for now, “everyone in the room is double vaccinated”.

Gym patron Jeffrey Gouman said he was comfortable knowing everyone else around him was vaccinated. Credit:Nick Moir

Another City Gym patron, Jeffrey Gouman, said on Monday he thought director Billy Kokkinis had “gone to a lot of trouble” to set up the right environment, and he felt very comfortable knowing that only fully vaccinated people were exercising around him.

Mr Kokkinis said he and his staff were prepared for “challenging scenarios” but found that getting people in the door was “less convoluted than expected”.

He said members were relieved and excited to get back to the gym among other fully-vaccinated members, and the atmosphere after opening on Monday was “almost like NYE”.

But he said fear and uncertainty were factors keeping some away after such a long time in lockdown, with many now accustomed to avoiding interactions with others.

“We understand the current climate is an unprecedented one, especially considering we pride ourselves on being inclusive. We offer zoom classes to anyone who is not yet ready to return but hope shortly that everyone will feel comfortable.”

Mr Gouman noticed the gym was not quite as full as the pre-COVID norm on the first morning back, but he expected more people to make their way back.

“My wife was certainly one that said ‘nah, I might skip the Monday’.

Wintry weather this week may have also played a part in convincing some to have one more sleep in: “It certainly wasn’t an enticing morning to get out of bed, that’s for sure.”

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