Indoor sports facilities in Dundee are preparing to welcome the public back through their doors today after almost six months.
Gyms, swimming pools and sports courts were given the green light to reopen on August 31 by Nicola Sturgeon on August 20.
And those running the facilities say they have been working “very hard” behind the scenes to ensure the safety of clients and customers.
Andrew Whittick, owner of Energie Fitness Dundee, said: “After five long months of waiting we are delighted and very excited to announce we will be opening our doors and welcoming our members back on August 31.
“Physical and mental health is an extremely important part of our daily lives and to be able to bring this back to the local community is fantastic.
“We have excellent staff who can’t wait to get back to work and deliver the fantastic service and coaching the gym is known for. We have some new equipment and the gym is ready to go.
“We are of course taking Covid-19 extremely seriously and have been working very hard over the past few weeks to get the gym ready to allow our members to exercise in a safe way.
“There is a one-way system in place, we have two metres between cardio equipment and three metres between free weights.
“We are also operating a booking system which allows us to comply with track and trace. We were already pleased with the staff and cleanliness of the gym but this has been stepped up further with specific and recorded touch point cleaning hourly and a deep clean every three hours.
“We are also operating a reduced class timetable to allow our staff to fully clean equipment before and after every class.
“Changes have been made to the way our members will exercise and interact in the gym but this will not stop us from delivering our fantastic service to members.”
The team at Energie Fitness, based on Douglas Road, are urging members to not enter the gym unless they are completely symptom free and to comply with social distancing measures.
Laura Rehman, owner of Launch Pad Dance Studio on Buttar’s Loan, says she plans to take each day as it comes over the next few weeks and is focused on ensuring that the studio’s youngest members remain free of any stress.
She said: “We feel pretty confident to open now, all the measures are in place. A lot of students are 12 and under, the majority are primary school age children, who don’t have to follow such strict measures.
“We are a business that caters to children and we don’t want them to feel the impact of the stress of any of this because dance is such a release and it’s supposed to be a vocational exercise. There’s also a responsibility not to make the studio spaces feel scary.
“Our studio is a large space, we’re lucky to have such a big hall. Our capacity inside is 17. The only thing that’s really going to affect our business is, long-term, I think there’s a capacity issue.
“Usually our teachers are teaching an hour or an hour and a half for a specific fee and the cost of the students in the room basically covers the studio costs and the teaching costs. Anything above that is our profit.
“But at the moment, we won’t be running on profit. We have to limit to only 15 kids and two teachers in the room, so we’ve had to put our business plan kind of on hold. Our usual capacity is 35.
“It does put a financial burden on the business still, moving forward, because we just don’t have enough hours in the day to teach.
“Obviously all our classes are after school so we don’t have the freedom to just add in as many hours as possible to spread all the kids out, so we are definitely running on less profit than our business plan would have allowed us to initially – but we’re just grateful to get back in and get the bills paid now.
“I think some of us have increased our prices slightly to try and compensate but we’re just going to have to do the best we can as positively as possible.
“We’re just hoping that the social distancing doesn’t last as long as we all think it will and that our business will be viable once we reopen.”
Laura added that “you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow” so is keen to return to the studio, hope for the best and adapt, where necessary, as she goes.
And PureGym, on the city’s Marketgait, said they were “delighted” to be back up and running.
A spokesman for the firm said: “We are delighted to be opening our 25 gyms in Scotland today and welcoming back hundreds and thousands of members who want to get back to working out. Better health and fitness is an important contributor in the fight against Covid-19.
“The safety of our members is our number one priority and so we have significantly enhanced our cleaning and safety standards in our gyms, in close consultation with medical experts, to ensure that they are safe places to work and safe places to workout.
“All gyms have sanitisation stations, contact-free entry and rigorous overnight deep cleaning and we’ve received highly positive feedback on cleanliness from our members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who have already returned for millions of gyms visits without incident.”
Meanwhile, Leisure and Culture Dundee have confirmed that gyms at Olympia, Lochee Leisure Centre, DISC, Douglas Sports Centre will resume business from Monday too.