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Govt issues guidelines for reopening of gyms, yoga centres

New Delhi: Ahead of the reopening of yoga institutes and gymnasiums, the Health ministry on Monday issued COVID-19-appropriate protocols to be followed at such facilities like allowing only asymptomatic people, maintaining social distancing, use of Aarogya Setu mobile application and the wearing of visor while exercising as far as possible.

All yoga institutes and gymnasiums in containment zones shall remain closed and only those outside such zones will be allowed to open, the 'Guidelines on Preventive Measures to Contain Spread of COVID-19 in Yoga Institutes & Gymnasiums' stated.

"Spas, sauna, steam bath and swimming pools (wherever applicable) shall remain closed," the document said.

The guidelines highlight the processes and premises redesigning, including proper placement of equipment. Yoga institutes and gymnasiums have been asked to plan the floor area based on four metres squared per person.

Persons above 65 years of age, persons with comorbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years are advised not to use gyms in closed spaces, the guidelines said.

For the first time since the Coronavirus lockdown came into force on March 25, the government has allowed the opening of yoga institutes and gymnasiums from August 5 as part of the 'Unlock 3' phase.

The document outlines various generic precautionary measures to be adopted in addition to specific measures to be taken at yoga institutes and gymnasiums to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The guidelines state that at the entry point at all such facilities, it is mandatory to have hand hygiene (sanitiser dispenser) and thermal screening provisions.

"Only asymptomatic persons (including staff) be allowed on the premises. All persons to be allowed entry only if using face cover/masks," it said.

"All members, visitors and staff may consider using the Aarogya Setu application for risk identification at all times inside the yoga institute/gymnasiums," the guidelines stated.

It also stated that prior to exercising in gymnasiums using equipment for cardio, strength training, etc. middle fingers be sanitised with an alcohol swab and oxygen saturation be checked using a pulse oximeter. Those having oxygen saturation below 95 per cent should not be allowed to exercise, it said.

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