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Bengal relaxes Covid curbs on gyms, jatra and outdoor shoots

The order was like a lifeblood for owners and employees of gyms

Debraj Mitra | Published 18.01.22, 09:15 AM
A rally by gym owners last week

A rally by gym owners last week

Telegraph picture

Gyms can operate with 50 per cent capacity, the state government said in a notification on Monday.

The notification also allowed resumption of jatra and outdoor shooting for films and TV shows. 

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“Gym may remain open with 50 per cent of the capacity at a time up to 9pm provided staff and users are fully vaccinated or are RTPCR negative,” said the notification, signed by the chief secretary.

The order was like a lifeblood for owners and employees of gyms, not to mention the thousands who benefit in terms of health because of them.

The first set of restrictions to check the third wave of Covid infections had clubbed gyms with salons and parlours and placed them under complete shutdown. Later, a revised order allowed salons and parlours to re-open with a 50 per cent cap but left gyms out.

While the closure affected the lives of “around two lakh families”, owners and fitness experts also alleged that the government was turning a blind eye to the healthcare virtues of gyms.

“Our stand has been vindicated. We thank the government for allowing us to resume operations. The closure was like a death knell for around 5,000 gyms in Bengal that employ around two lakh people,” said Gagan Sachdev, owner of the Karma Fitness Studio chain and a member of the Gym Owners’ Forum.

The prolonged shutdowns of 2020 and 2021 had already forced the permanent closure of several gyms in Kolkata and pushed many employees to the verge of penury.

The forum had been leading hectic parleys with the government to allow reopening of gyms.

There are around 300 gyms in Kolkata and neighbouring districts, said members of the owners’ forum. “All of them might not be able to open on Tuesday because of infrastructure and logistics issues. But most should open within the next couple of days,” said a member.

Monday’s notification also allowed the resumption of jatras and outdoor shootings.

“Jatra shall be allowed in a very restricted manner up to 9pm only with 50 per cent of capacity in an outdoor venue and in case of an indoor venue with a maximum of 200 people or 50 per cent of the capacity whichever is lower,” it said.

“Outdoor shooting for films and TV programmes will be allowed with adherence to physical distancing and Covid appropriate protocols,” it said.

“This was a much-needed boost. Only indoor shootings cripple the process because not everything can be shot inside four walls. Also, outdoor shooting means more work,” said Firdausul Hasan, film producer.

 

Last updated on 18.01.22, 08:42 PM
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