Another matter being brought to the forefront in recent weeks is the case of gyms around the country. Several gym owners have come together and had written to the National Oversight Committee (NOC) appealing for consideration for them to reopen. Reports were that the gym owners were being ignored with their request. Prime Minister Dean Barrow says the request is not being disregarded.
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “The NOC deferred a proposal from the National Fitness Association to reopen gyms. I saw last night what I was told was a draft of a statement that this National Fitness Association -newly formed I believe- was going to put out in which they were lambasting the NOC for flatly turning down their proposal for the reopening of gyms. It is not true that their proposal has been flatly turned down in fact Ms.Cathy Meighan the Chamber of Commerce’s representative on the NOC was tasked to work particularly with this association so that we could reach a point of agreement and where we are is that they are asking that the Central Building Authority be designated as the entity to approve applications for reopening and to monitor compliance with the protocols that would have to be agreed before there can be any reopening and that the CBA also empower them to lift that permission if persons are found in breach. It’s a lot and from what we sought, the NOC, the protocols we are in principle in agreement with this but protocols have not yet been completely been spelled out the protocols that would have to be observed by the gyms and that have to be monitored by the Central Building Authority. Despite reservations and I looked at it very carefully and I saw where there is a division of opinion but internationally the majority of opinions seem to be that gyms are potentially extremely dangerous in terms of the spread of the virus. Until we can sort that all out we decided we would have to wait and not try to include it in the amendments to the current SI which amendments as I say we expect to go into effect for first thing Monday morning.”
There are twenty-five gym owners who are clamoring for the reopening of their establishments. The group has formed the National Fitness Association (NFA) and came up with a proposal to the National Oversight Committee for gyms to re-open safely. Аlbеrt Gаrсіа, іntеrіm со-сhаіr оf thе NFА told Love News that they fully agree that the safety of clients is a priority.
Albert Garcia, Interim Co-Chair, NFA: “When it comes to that safety is our number one priority but it’s also looking at the pros versus cons in terms of opening the gym and for us and I think generally the public based on different conversations we’ve had it’s open the gyms and let us decide to come if we want to. At this point that choice is being taken away from the individual in society. At the end of the day they would understand what the risks are at the same time while we’re putting in protocols to mitigate these risks but they would understand what these risks are and if they decide that guess what these risks outweigh the benefits I will get from this then it’s their choice to really come in. At this current juncture they’re not giving that option, we’re not given that option and especially wit this current pandemic I mean the implications or the necessity I will specify that’s needed for health is I’d say even far more prevalent and the awareness the awareness should be out there on a much grander scale that guess what if you are predisposed to certain conditions obviously you’re at risk so your health now really becomes extremely important and the one way to really look at this is the gym to be quite honest. I know they’ve made recommendations when it comes to outdoor activities but to be quite honest from a scientific standpoint we have a modern day problem which honestly requires a modern day solution. These things will not provide the level I would say necessary to mitigate these things, separate from that it’s also looking at the mental health aspect because there’s two components to this there’s the physical component in terms of feeling better of course some people do it for aesthetic purpose but at this point our focus is that physical health in terms of ensuring that you are healthier, ensuring that you can really keep diseases at bay. At the same time now we’re looking at that mental component it’s looking at that clarity of mind that an exercise regime really provides you with specifically when you’re at the gym. Sometimes people can’t do this on their own so having someone there guide you with all the things that you need to do and also keeping you very focused because I mean at this current time people have different challenges that they’re facing, everyone has various challenges that the have to deal with and these things come on in terms of heart attacks, some people might call it panic attacks and what you find the gym creates is that space, the break from these thoughts that tend to attack you on a constant basis to really just be engaged in what you’re doing and a break from that when you find it tends to create a clearing effect, separate from that it’s also looking at increasing your energy. Now the more energy you have and to be quite honest if you’re very energetic it’s very hard for you to be depressed or sad you tend to feel good, it changes everything about you so looking at that mental aspect it’s looking at the impact it can have on the individual here in the gym and more importantly outside when they have to get out and get back to these things that may be challenging them that they can approach it with a much clearer mind as opposed to one that you wonder “How do I fix this. How do I sort this out.” and to be quite honest you find everyone makes their best decisions when they’re clear, when they’re happy, when they’re at their best and having a health facility in place aids with that.”
Garcia says the NFA is more than prepared to go to the drawing board to chart a way forward.
Albert Garcia, Interim Co-Chair, NFA: “We’ve been to the drawing table twice. This is the second proposal we’ve put forward. We put it forward first and we met with someone from the NOC they asked for even more clarification we added in more clarification gave them more detail to the proposal now in which we received a counter recently which is somewhat similar to the same thing we drew up so to be quite honest we are more prepared, we’ve done the work I mean it’s a very very complete proposal. The safety of the clients is our number one priority. We’re quite open to have them come in, inspect everything as we go forward because we look at safety being the first thing and then the other aspect is looking at what sort of impact or how we can help I would say the economy moving forward in terms of aiding many people in key position with their mental health in terms of training, clearing that mind, making better decisions and helping driving everything forward because I’m pretty sure people in key or key stakeholders who hold certain positions are stressed. They do need a break, they do need to exercise also so I do believe that we can prove to provide much value to just about everyone in society especially at this time.”
Garcia is the Managing Director of Educogym Belize located in Belmopan.