Updated: January 17, 2022 1:18:43 pm
Tejas Lahane, sales executive at Dotfit Fitness, looking at his computer, said his gym currently has 450 members, but only 200 of them come daily. Due to this, he had to reduce the number of trainers by half. The ongoing third wave and the latest Maharashtra government guidelines of allowing gyms, restaurants and malls to run at 50% capacity are beginning to show their impact across the service sector.
Lahane, while talking about the impact the Covid has had on his business, said, “Before the pandemic, our monthly average income was Rs 9 to 10 lakh from which we had to pay the huge rent, electricity bills, do maintenance and pay salaries of the staff. However, after the pandemic, while the electricity bill is still coming as it is, our income has fallen to Rs 4-5 lakh. I am not even able to cover my maintenance in this, because of which the salaries of the staff are getting delayed.”
Similar sentiments were reflected by Michael Jacob, manager of Sky Fitness and Wellness, whose monthly business has gone down from Rs 12-14 lakh to just Rs 3-4 lakh. And after this third wave, some of his customers have even requested cancellation of membership. “I am hoping the government will encourage people to exercise more so that they can become healthy and stronger,” says Jacob.
While Prakash Joshi, manager of Reshape Fitness, is glad that unlike first and second wave, this time the gyms have been allowed to operate, he is worried about the possible lockdown. “During the first lockdown, gyms were closed for eight months. Again, we had to close for two months. However, more than the lockdown, unlocking is a bigger issue because while we are the first one to be shut down, we are also the last one to be allowed to re-open.”
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In Terrasinne restaurant, the staff is always running around the schedule to serve the customers making it difficult to keep a tab on 50% capacity. The owner, Dr Sonam Kapse, said that few of the restaurants around her have been fined for having 1-2 customers more than the prescribed limit which has caused a scare among the restaurant owners. Another restaurant owner, Navtej Sahini of Arthur’s Theme raised concern about the closing time of 10 pm. According to him, his business has gone down since December 31 and after the latest guideline, “While our lunch walk-ins have remained same, we have seen a significant fall in the evening walk-ins, especially during the weekdays. By the time the customers who are working during the day think of going out, our closing time approaches.”
Malls too are feeling the impact of the third wave and the consequent fear among the general public. Kinjal Radia, centre director, The Pavillion Mall says, “We have seen a considerable drop in the sales and footfalls during the first 10 days of this year.” However, he emphasised on “safe shopping experience” malls offer. Similar emphasis was put forward by Arun Arora, centre director, Phoenix Marketcity Pune who talked about the various Covid protocols put in place in his mall like double vaccinated staff, mandatory vaccine certificate, and temperature check of the customers, sanitisation booths, social distancing, etc. These protocols were found to be common in all gyms, restaurants, and malls we spoke to.
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