Restrictions placed on fitness centres and sports training grounds across Thailand should be lifted by next month as they have suffered the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic without help for months, said Prinn Panitchpakdi, deputy leader of the Democrat Party.
Gyms, fitness centres and sports training outlets were among the first businesses to shut due to public health reasons but are likely to be among the last to reopen, Mr Panitchpakdi said.
The businesses have complied with state measures to contain the pandemic.
But the prolonged shutdown has put them on the verge of collapse as liquidity runs dry and workers lost their jobs.
Suspended access to sports training grounds has left many athletes, including members of national teams, without a place to practice, Mr Panitchpakdi said, adding it threatens to affect their performance and the country’s standing in global competitions.
Thanpawat Thetphuwadolvithit, a representative of a gym and fitness operator group, said everyone in the fitness business and its supply chains, including gym equipment manufacturers, is in dire financial straits. No estimate of financial damage was available.
Mr Panitchpakdi said the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration should lift the blanket ban on fitness businesses.
Only those with infections or at risk of spreading infections should be closed for cleaning and quarantine for up to 14 days, he said.
He said fitness businesses should be permitted to reopen by 1st August but with strict public health measures in place.
In the meantime, the government should consider a policy to grant low-interest, non-collateral loans for fitness proprietors, he said.
Public input should also be taken into account before launching measures that affect many people, he said.
Meanwhile, Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang yesterday posted on his Facebook that care centres will be opened at COVID-affected communities in the capital for sufferers showing little to no symptoms of the virus.
The centres will also take care of children whose parents or caretakers are away from home for COVID-19 treatment, at field hospitals or hospitals, Pol Gen Kwanmuang said, adding the centres will help separate the sick from their families and cut the chain of transmission.
He said workers and volunteers at the centre are equipped with oximeters that can help determine whether sufferers require hospitalisation.