Less than one in five local gyms will have enough resources to install required ventilation equipment to allow patrons to exercise mask-free when that's permitted from Thursday, a fitness analyst said on Wednesday.
That's among the latest raft of Hong Kong's anti-Covid measures being eased after three months of strict enforcement, but the government said customers can only go mask-free if gyms satisfy specific air-change requirements.
Gordan Yau from Hong Kong Fitness Guide told RTHK’s Hong Kong Today programme that smaller gyms simply don’t have the money to purchase the pricey equipment required.
“It is so tough to ask owners to purchase [air change equipment] after 100 days with zero income”, he said.
“Right now there are around 1,200 gyms and sports venues in Hong Kong. I estimate less than 20 percent of them will spare money to install air change equipment.”
However, Yau doesn’t expect this to deter gym rats eager to get back in shape – even if they have to exercise with a mask on, saying people are used to it already.
“For middle and small-sized gyms, they have around eight to 10 bookings per day, which is good news for owners,” he said.
However, Yau warned it will take a long time for the hard-hit industry to recover, estimating that it has collectively lost around HK$1 billion during the closure, and around 150 businesses shutting down for good between January and March – including major chains such as Goji and Fitness First.