(Virgin Active)
  • At the end of August, government gazetted new regulations that restrict gyms to 50 people or fewer.
  • Virgin Active consulted its lawyers and now believes that this refers to gatherings within gyms - like studio classes.
  • The group now allow more than 50 people onto premises at a time.
  • For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

After consulting with its lawyers, Virgin Active is now allowing more than 50 people into its gyms at a time.

At the end of August, government gazetted new regulations that restrict gyms to 50 persons or fewer:

Excerpt from the Disaster Management Act, gazetted on August 28, 2020

But Virgin Active now believes the restriction applies to gatherings of people in the gym – not the whole gym.

“Virgin Active has sought legal advice on the correct interpretation of a gathering in so far as it relates to a gym,” according to a statement.

“The correct legal interpretation is that the restrictions on gatherings can only be applied to group exercise studios, where people come together to participate in the same class.” 

“For the rest of the club, members are visiting the gym to do individual exercises unrelated to each other, and therefore this can not be classified as a gathering.

“Accordingly, the provisions limiting a gathering can not be applied outside of a group exercise environment. This is no different to people visiting a supermarket to do their individual shopping.”

The gym group is now only limiting the number of members at any one time to 50% of what it could accommodate if everyone in the club maintained a distance of 1.5 metres from each other.

For now, Planet Fitness will keep to the limit of 50 people, a spokesperson told Netwerk24. And Zone Fitness said it is still considering its options. The department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs was approached for comment, but has not responded. 

Virgin Active opened its doors at the end of August after being closed for five months during lockdown. It did not levy membership fees during that time.

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