Gyms in Covid-hit B’luru to reopen with 50% occupancy

Bengaluru, April 4 (IANS) In yet another U-turn on stringent restrictions to contain surging Covid cases in this tech city, the Karnataka government allowed gyms to reopen with 50 per cent occupancy from Monday, said a top official on Sunday.

“Gyms in Bengaluru will be allowed to reopen from Monday with the condition that their occupancy at any time will not exceed 50 per cent of their capacity,” said state Chief Secretary P. Ravikumar in a fresh order.

The decision to partially reopen about 2,000 gyms across the city two days after they were shut from Saturday to April 20 was taken by state Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa following a representation from their owners to relax the ban imposed in an order on April 2.

The modified order makes strict Covid appropriate behaviour like wearing of a face mask, maintaining physical distancing and hand sanitisers mandatory for all gyms across the city.

“The gym owners shall sanitise the equipment after every use. Violation of the new order will lead to their closure till the Covid pandemic is over,” said Ravikumar in the order.

Gyms and yoga centres across the city re-opened on August 5 last year after they were shut since the Covid-induced lockdown was enforced on March 23, 2020 to contain the virus spread.

Partial reopening of gyms came a day after the state government on Saturday allowed cinema theatres in eight districts across the state, including Bengaluru to defer enforcing 50 per cent seating to April 7 to contain the pandemic,

“The order restricting 50 per cent of seating capacity in cinema halls in eight districts, including Bengaluru where Covid cases have been rising will be applicable from Wednesday (April 7) up to April 20,” a civic official told IANS earlier in the day.

The other seven districts across the southern state are Bengaluru Rural, Bidar, Dakshina Kannada, Dharwad, Kalaburagi, Mysuru and Udupi.

“A revised order was issued on Saturday to apply the restriction from April 7, as hundreds of fans bought online tickets in advance for all shows till Tuesday (April 6) for films released on Friday and imposing the restriction would have disappointed them and caused loss to the film industry,” said the official.

A Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) delegation, led by Sandalwood superstars Shivarajkumar, Puneet, Yash and Sudeep urged state Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Saturday to defer the order by a few days, as the theatres were following the guidelines to contain the virus spread.

“As theatres have been complying with the guidelines in force since October, 2020 when they reopened after 6-month lockdown, no positive cases were reported from the fans who watched films in their halls,” KFCC president Jairaj told reporters after the state government rescinded its earlier order.

One the new Kannada films released on Thursday was ‘Yuvarathna,’ starring Puneet, second son of matinee idol and Kannada thespian Rajkumar.

According to the state health bulletin, of the 4,553 fresh cases registered across the southern state on Saturday, 2,787 were reported from Bengaluru, taking its Covid tally to 4,47,031, including 28,098 active cases.

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