It has been a long road for Cootamundra gym Ripped 24/7 navigating the restrictions around Covid19.
They were initially closed down along with all gyms in NSW by the premier and when they were allowed to re-open the key feature of their business model - 24/7 access to the facility by members - was not allowed.
A Covid Marshal was required on site during all operating hours, thus owners Ash Haines and Emma Axsentieff had to restrict trade.
This past week, with a declining number of Covid19 cases in the state, the State Government announced a further easing of restrictions including gyms to operate without a Covid Marshal if fewer than 20 people were exercising in the facility.
The announcement followed a concerted campaign by the fitness industry to have this restriction looked at and overhauled at the first available opportunity.
Prior to the lifting of the restriction, Fitness Australia Chief Executive, Barrie Elvish said the impact of requiring Covid Marshals during all operational hours was particularly hard on gyms and facilities that operated 24/7 as well as community members who relied on 24-hour access to a safe and secure exercise environment.
"Gyms are an essential part of the solution to keeping Australians fit and healthy, yet current requirements are restricting people from accessing fitness facilities at times that suit their work schedule and lifestyle," Mr Elvish said.
Ms Haines and Ms Axsentieff are very pleased to be able to return to 24/7 operating hours with members notified last Thursday the extended opening times would come into effect from 5am last Friday.
"It is awesome news for us because it does mean that we can go back to being 24 hours again which is fantastic for all of our members who couldn't come in during our opening hours," the ladies said.
"It has been an incredibly tough year for us as we haven't been given any financial assistance of any description," they continued, after falling through the cracks of all available Government support programs.
The ladies instead relied on hiring our equipment during the initial closure and since re-opening concentrated on getting as many people through their doors as possible when they were allowed to open.
"It's been proven that exercise is good for people, not only physically but also mentally and that is where so many people need extra assistance...the gym is a form of medication," Ms Axsentieff said.