The day that so many have been waiting for is here: gyms in Abu Dhabi are reopening.
Abu Dhabi Sports Council on Sunday announced that all indoor sports centers were allowed to resume activities across the emirate from July 1.
They are allowed to operate around the clock, seven days a week but at no more than 40 percent capacity. They must also continue to stick to strict safety measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. They include compulsory wearing of face masks and gloves at all times, changing them frequently and staying at least two meters apart.
Clients must bring their own towels and hygiene products and wipe down the equipment they have used.
Gym staff must also check everyone’s temperature before and during training sessions.
The rules apply to all fitness centers for men and women, snooker and billiards halls, yoga studios, bowling clubs and bodybuilding gyms. However, all those facilities remain off-limits for the under-12s and the over-60s.
Sports and fitness facilities in the capital were ordered to close their doors more than three months ago. The announcement on reopening was even more eagerly awaited after Dubai began opening up in early June.
Most establishments took to social media and sent emails to clients to announce their re-opening date or communicate that they are waiting for inspections but would open imminently. Others opted to delay for a few days to ensure they are properly prepared.
Haddins Fitness in Zayed Sports City posted on their Facebook page that they were “ready to rock and roll” on Sunday, July 5. Their Instagram feed also featured pictures of equipment that had been rented out being returned to the gym.
Bodytree, Abu Dhabi first wellness center, announced on Instagram that it had been approved by authorities and would also reopen on July 5. The studio has introduced lots of greenery into the space “to purify the air, making it even safer for you to be here….just one of our many plans to make your experience at Bodytree as safe as your own home”.
Meanwhile, Punch UAE boxing studio was still awaiting full approval but was ready to reopen this week.
However, not every fitness establishment in Abu Dhabi will be back in business. In a May 30 Facebook post, Pem Fassa, owner of The Hot House Yoga in Al Zeina, announced she was closing the doors for good after two years.
Fassa says the enforced closure has given her time to rethink how she wants to live her life. She discusses her decision to back away from the business of yoga on the next episode of The Livehealthy.ae Podcast, which goes live on July 1.
Anna Pukas has reported from all over the world as a foreign correspondent for British media. She is now an editor based in Abu Dhabi.