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Centre issues guidelines for reopening of gyms from Aug 5

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 From maintaining a distance of six feet, using visor rather than mask, following respiratory etiquette, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Monday issued guidelines for re-opening of gyms and yoga centres as a part of the third phase of easing of lockdown.

Yoga institutes and gymnasiums are slated to open from August 5. The guidelines aim to minimize possible physical contacts between staff, members and visitors and maintain social distancing, other preventive and safety measures in context 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.

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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.

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.”

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.

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