Disinfecting at a gym in Mallorca

Extra disinfection has added to the cost of running gyms.

24-10-2020Miquel À. Cañellas

New measures to stop the spread of coronavirus which came into effect in the Balearics on Saturday represent a "further blow" to gyms and restaurants. The gyms have been ordered to cut capacity from 50% to 30%, while there is now a limit of six people per table in bars and restaurants and sitting at a bar has been banned.

Businesses feel that these measures have been adopted "unilaterally" and "without scientific criteria". The limits will further hinder business viability in both the gym and the bar/restaurant sectors.

The Balearic association of sports facilities employers has sent a letter to the regional ministry of health, calling for there to be a reconsideration of the decision and to keep capacity at 50%. The new regulations will "further aggravate the current situation, and some gyms will be forced to close definitively". The association adds that many jobs depend on the sector as also do the mental and physical health of thousands of Balearic citizens.

The association has appended a report from the national Centre for the Control of Health Alerts and Emergencies. This points to infections at sports facilities being among the lowest. Meanwhile, the efforts to comply with heath security requirements have meant a doubling in the cost of disinfection. At the same time as capacity in gyms is being restricted, "there are loads of people exercising in green areas without safety measures and with instructors who pay no taxes".

The situation with bars and restaurants is very similar. Eugenia Cusí, the president of the Pimem restaurants association, says that "every time an announcement of this type is made, we have a flood of cancellations". "It is a scaremongering message that conveys risk." She notes that according to the national ministry of health, under 3.5% of infections occur in bars and restaurants.

Her counterpart at the CAEB restaurants association, Alfonso Robledo, refers to the same data in highlighting the safety of the sector. He notes that even President Armengol "can go out for a drink and enjoy our terraces like anyone else" and believes that the bar and restaurant sector has suffered "harassment", when attention should instead be being paid to street drinking, private parties and "mass gatherings outside of a regulated environment". These are where there are increases in infections.

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