Gyms the forgotten victim of Victoria’s lockdown

One of the most asinine COVID restrictions that will continue into next week is the banning of gyms.

Gyms were singled-out and banned from reopening in Regional Victoria last week, despite no reported COVID cases, and they will be singled out again in Melbourne when it reopens at midnight tonight.

As happened last year when Melbourne eased out of COVID lockdown, gyms have been banned from reopening because they are supposedly ‘high risk’ places. This despite the majority of gyms having impeccable ‘scan-on-entry’ contact tracing and COVID protocols, including proper spacing, abundant sanitisation stations and wipes. By comparison, hospitality venues can have 50 people seated indoors.

Seriously, how is it that the hospitality sector, hairdressers and beauticians (among many others) are allowed to open but not gyms? How is it that Melburnians are allowed to go to the pub and get drunk but cannot do something that actually improves their health like working out? Where is the consistency?

I spoke to one small gym owner yesterday who is demoralised and facing possible financial ruin. They were hit hard financially last year and were only beginning to recover. Now they have been forced to close for three consecutive weeks (assuming no extension) without financial support. Their rent and fixed costs still need to be paid, but without revenue coming in at the front end. What are these businesses supposed to do?

Similar sentiments were expressed yesterday on Melbourne’s 3AW by members of the public and gym owners alike.

With proper protocols and COVID-safe plans, there is no reason why gyms cannot open.

The Victorian Government seems intent to drive the fitness industry into bankruptcy. They’d prefer Victorians get drunk at the pub or woof down a hamburger at a cafe than doing actual physical activity.

This despite physical exercise being a key antidote to depression, especially when Melbourne’s current inclement weather prevents exercising outdoors.

Unconventional Economist


  1. Smashing out fast runs on the treadmill blowing air out, spitting and sweating everywhere on the erg

    People not wiping every touch point down

    Seems fairly risky to me (and I’m a gym goer)

    QR should be in use everywhere

    • Yep – experience overseas are that gyms are super-spreader venues. But once evidence of community spread is gone, they should be opened up, I’d have thought.

    • run to the hillsMEMBER

      I’m in the gym 4 or 5 times a week, we have a fair few patrons from other continents who refuse to use towels or wipe down equipment, despite there being signs and warnings everywhere and most others clearly doing the right thing. It’s bearable in the winter months but over summer their BO is often intolerable. I’ve had peeling skin all over my hands since COVID started due to using the hand sanitiser on all touch points, it really dries your skin out badly. I’m in Sydney so you just roll with it as the COVID situation is under control, but I can understand why the Vic government is keeping gyms closed.

      • this
        I’ve run 50km in the last week with one yesterday in howling wind with lots of trees around => sketchy

        Some of us too don’t just run/cycle or have weights at home…I go to the gym for weights and specific treadmill workouts.

        It’s obviously pretty cheap and easy to have a skipping rope, some kettlebells and chinup/etc at home for emergencies.

          • darklydrawlMEMBER

            Agree. Whilst I am lucky enough to have space for a workout at home, it is nothing like the intensity of sparing with a qualified/personal trainer – or even a group class.

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