BASS Coast fitness providers believe their services have a crucial benefit to mental health and are certain they can operate safely.
Local facilities including gyms, boxing, yoga, gymnastics, swimming, CrossFit and dancing are calling on the state government to allow them to reopen.
Tom Taylor of Tomfit gym Inverloch said he had been happy to do his part.
“I was on the couch for an hour and a half last Sunday (October 4) waiting for Dan to mention regional gyms, but there was nothing. We’ve been forgotten and it doesn’t make sense,” Tom said.
“Now is a critical time; we have done our part and like cafes, bars and restaurants, we deserve to be open.”
Nikki Rowe of Soulspace yoga said facility owners had a shared appreciation for mental health.
“We’re all in this industry for a reason, we know how important physical activity is for mental health.”
Jake Wright from Voyage Fitness was concerned the current guidelines would cause some gym users to fear returning to training.
“Right now, the restrictions are saying gyms are a dangerous place. This is not backed up by evidence,” Jake said.
In NSW, since gyms reopened on June 13, there had been more than 6.26 million visits to 423 gyms, with no recorded community transmission.
Scott Williamson of Bass Coast Boxing and Fitness said both he and his members were feeling lost.
“We had members complete suicide awareness training in September and the night after the course one of my trainers received a call from a mate who was having suicidal thoughts,” Scott said.
“I’ve just reopened a new location, I’ve put almost $20,000 into the gym and with no finish line in sight, it’s hard to stay motivated,” he said.
Dylan Muir of South Gippsland Bass Swim Club said his club was travelling to Toora and Warragul outdoor pools to train.
“As much as it is great we can train, the guidelines not allowing us in the indoor pool are not aligned,” Dylan said.
“At one of the pools we walk through the indoor pool, get changed inside and then swim outdoors.”
Chelsea Caple of Summersault gymnastics said children returning to school brought a new round of confusion.
“Parents are calling every day asking if we are open. Kids are allowed to go out of school on excursions, but we aren’t permitted to open,” she said.
Charlotte Bolding of CrossFit Bass Coast was among the more than 31,000 people who signed a change.org petition calling on the state government to reopen fitness facilities.
“I remain blown away as to how a bottle shop provides more value to the community than a gym, yoga studio or boxing centre,” she said.
Following the previous lockdown, safety measures include spacing out machinery, shutting down water fountains and shower facilities, and providing sanitiser for people to wipe down the equipment before use.
If you need support, talk to a GP or health professional.
Support services include:
• SANE Australia on 1800 18 SANE (7263) or sane.org.
• Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36 or beyondblue.org.au.
• Lifeline on 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au.
• Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 or suicidecallbackservice.org.au.
• MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978 or mensline.org.au.
• ReachOut at reachout.com.
• Headspace on 1800 650 890 or headspace.org.au.
• Kids’ Helpline on 1800 551 800 or kidshelpline.com.au.