From this weekend, Dubbo gyms and fitness centres will need to have a dedicated hygiene marshal on duty at all times after the NSW Government brought in new rules to safeguard people against COVID-19.
The extra measures, which also includes registering a COVID Safety Plan, will take effect from 12.01am Saturday, August 1.
Dubbo's Anytime Fitness centre has assigned three staff and employed a non-existing staff member for the COVID-19 Safe Hygiene Marshal role.
They have also had to change their operating hours.
Effective from 9pm July, 31, the new opening hours at Dubbo's Anytime Fitness will be 5am to 9pm between Monday and Thursday.
Friday's will open between 5am to 7pm, 5am to 7pm on Saturday and 8am to 2pm on Sunday.
Anytime Fitness manager Anthea Patteson said while she understands the new opening hours may not suit every member, she said it's a much better outcome than having to fully close like before.
"Even though it's restricted, we can still offer this service to members. I understand it won't suit every person, we do have members like shift workers, who signed up to Anytime because they could train at 3am for example, but we can put their memberships on hold," she explained.
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The response from members regarding the new hours has been generally positive, Ms Patteson added.
"People are just glad we can still offer the service and I feel like they have been really understanding of not just this new restriction but all the new rules we have had to bring in," she explained.
"They understand how serious we are about our COVIDSafe plan, they trust the gym will be clean, which is why they keep coming back, because they feel safe."
Earlier this year, just before the strict COVID-19 rules were implemented, the Anytime Fitness centre had a grand opening at its new centre on Cobra street after merging the two smaller venues at Delroy Park and in Blueridge Business Estate.
But just 10 days later it had to close when the government forced the closure of all gyms.
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Ms Patteson said the new, bigger centre has allowed for staff to adhere to the social distancing rules.
"We have so much space, so it means we have been able to spread our equipment 1.5 metres apart," she said.
Despite all the setbacks, Ms Patteson said the centre has been the busiest its ever been since first opening in Dubbo 10 years ago.
"We're doing the most sign ups and member visits per day and revenue than we've ever done. The business is the most successful it's ever been, despite the restrictions," she explained.
The Anytime Fitness manager thanked all of the Dubbo members for following the new rules including bringing a towel, social distancing and using the hand sanitiser.
"Everybody is showing us and the gym so much respect and I'm thankful they are making our job a lot easier," Ms Patteson said.
"It is great to see people are continuing to take this seriously."
Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said these extra measures for gymsand fitness centres are necessary to stop the spread of the virus.
"We cannot afford to take any risks or allow complacency to creep in. Businesses must take all reasonable steps to reduce the risk of COVID transmission or risk facing a fine or closure," Mr Dominello said.
"Gyms play a crucial role in the promotion of health and fitness across our community but they are not immune from this challenge.
"Without proper COVID safeguards, they may present a transmission risk and that is why we need operators to put their customers first by registering their COVID Safety Plan.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said this is a critical time in our response to COVID-19.
"Members of the community and business have important roles to play. Gyms support people maintain their health and wellbeing. I ask that patrons cooperate with Hygiene Marshalls to keep people safe," Dr Chant said.
For the latest information visit www.nsw.gov.au