No fear, no fuss as gyms adapt to new vaccination-differentiated rules

SINGAPORE – Stricter vaccination-differentiated rules are set to take effect from Wednesday (Oct 13), but gym owners whom The Straits Times spoke to are taking the latest measures in their stride, saying they are not worried as most of their members are fully vaccinated.

From Wednesday, only vaccinated individuals will be allowed into shopping malls – which also house a number of gyms – and standalone stores that are not supermarkets.

Those who have recovered from Covid-19, or have a valid negative pre-event test (PET) result, are also considered fully vaccinated.

The new measures are part of a move to protect unvaccinated individuals in the community and reduce the strain on the healthcare system, said the Ministry of Health last Saturday.

Some like Teri Ong, who operates Anytime Fitness clubs at Northpoint City, Nex and HillV2, had implemented segregation for members who were vaccinated and unvaccinated at her three outlets a few weeks ago.

When mask-off, high-intensity activities were allowed to resume indoors on August 10 – after phase two (heightened alert) measures were eased – only fully vaccinated members were allowed to these clubs.

Unvaccinated members had to provide a negative PET test to be able to enter the gyms and a separate area was marked out for them to do their workouts.

Ong, 52, welcomed the new rules and said: “The majority of our members got themselves vaccinated and when you’re in an environment where everyone’s vaccinated, you feel like you’re safe.

“Based on feedback on the ground, we gather that most are supportive of our measures.”

True Group has introduced a rule mandating that only members who are fully vaccinated – including those who produce a negative PET test – will be allowed into its 10 branches as these are located in malls.

The company had adopted a phased approach to allowing mask-off activities in its outlets to give members the time to receive the full regimen of their vaccines. While unvaccinated members could still enter the gyms if they produced a negative PET, Tan noted that most choose not to.

True Group director Sean Tan said: “As over 99 per cent of our members are vaccinated, our operations are mainly affected by capacity constraints and safe management measures, rather than the vaccine-related differentiated measures.”

With the measures kicking in on Wednesday, True Group and Anytime Fitness have given unvaccinated members the option of freezing their memberships for the time being.

Others like fitness and martial arts studio Neue Fit, which is located at Kallang Wave Mall, also conduct outdoor classes, although co-founder Grace Huang said that most of the unvaccinated members are waiting to receive their full regimen before returning.

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Before the latest measures were announced, the studio had classes for mask-on activities that were open to all and mask-off classes for vaccinated individuals, which she estimates make up about 97 to 98 per cent of members.

Huang said: “Now we can’t do it because they won’t be able to come into the malls. I personally didn’t want to force it but unfortunately because of the situation, we’ll only be able to run fully vaccinated classes.

“As people are transitioning into vaccinations, some will be affected for the next couple of weeks. I’m just grateful that we weren’t asked to close again or the measures weren’t tightened again because we’ve really borne the brunt of it this year with gym closures.”

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