Tweed Heads gym owner Caroline Bellenger is happy she could now run an outdoor group fitness class but was frustrated the NSW Government hadn’t considered easing restrictions for smaller gyms. Photo: Scott Powick.
Tweed Heads gym owner Caroline Bellenger is happy she could now run an outdoor group fitness class but was frustrated the NSW Government hadn’t considered easing restrictions for smaller gyms. Photo: Scott Powick.

‘Makes no sense’: Small gyms forgotten in blanket rule

THE latest easing of coronavirus restrictions has been a double-edged sword for one Tweed gym owner.

Coolangatta's Caroline Bellenger is in a unique position where she runs a boot camp on the Gold Coast and owns a gym in Tweed Heads.

While Ms Bellenger is happy she could now run the outdoor group fitness class on the Gold Coast, she is frustrated the NSW Government hadn't considered easing restrictions for smaller gyms.

She said it "absolutely made no sense" people could visit a beauty and hairdressing salon but she wasn't allowed to run a one-on-one personal training session inside her gym Epic Pro Fitness at Tweed Heads South.

"A lot of the smaller gyms have been left by the wayside," Ms Bellenger said.

"I had a maximum of nine people in a class and I was cleaning the equipment between people using it.

"Now I can't even do a one-on-one personal training session … I have a beautiful 88sqm gym just sitting there waiting to be used."

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The personal trainer would be happy with a five-person limit inside boutique gyms which she said would be a safer option than going to a supermarket.

Ms Bellenger said her clients' mental health had suffered since the widespread closure of businesses, including gyms, on March 22.

She said it took only minutes for the Active & Healthy fitness class which will be held outdoors, to book out and it showed how desperate locals were to be active again.

"Most of my clients are middle-aged women and they're not only missing the exercise, they want to see their social group back again," Ms Bellenger said.

"Especially the ones with small kids who have been working from home and homeschooling."

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The NSW State Government has yet to announce when gyms could reopen which was also a source of frustration for Ms Bellenger.

"In stage two, according to the Federal Government, you will be able to have up to 20 people in a gym at a time," she said.

"In Queensland, gyms can open from June 16, but NSW (State Government) has not even given a date for when we can move into stage two.

"I can't plan anything."

What's changed for NSW

  • outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people
  • cafes and restaurants can seat 10 patrons at any one time and continue to provide takeaway services
  • up to 5 visitors may visit another household at any one time
  • weddings can have up to 10 guests plus the celebrant and couple
  • indoor funerals can have up to 20 mourners and outdoor funerals up to 30
  • religious gatherings and places of worship can have up to 10 worshippers
  • outdoor playground and exercise equipment can be used with caution
  • outdoor pools will be open with restrictions.

What's changed for Queensland

  • retail shopping
  • 10 people permitted at any one time for - dining in: restaurants, cafes, pubs, registered and licensed clubs, RSL clubs and hotels - no bars or gaming
  • open homes and auctions
  • beauty therapy and nail salons (with register of clients and COVID SAFE plan).
  • In outback regions, restrictions will be limited to - dining in: restaurants, cafes, pubs, registered and licensed clubs, RSL clubs and hotels (maximum 20 people) for locals only (must show proof of residence) - no bars or gaming
  • recreational travel (500km within the outback if you live in the outback).
  • Gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed for - outdoor, non-contact activity personal training pools (indoor and outdoor) public spaces and lagoons, weddings and funerals (maximum 20 people indoors or 30 people outdoors).

Your staff are not included in the total number of people allowed in your business premises at one time.