It has been more than 50 days since the prime minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown. Almost all the businesses and shops remain closed in the unprecedented lockdown in Karnataka and across the country. However, Karnataka’s youth, tourism, and sports minister CT Ravi, recently stated that gyms, salons, and golf clubs are likely to open after May 17.
Minister CT Ravi’s statement:
Karnataka hosts busy and densely populated cities like Bengaluru, Mysore, Hubli and Mangalore. It has already registered more than 1000 coronavirus positive cases with the number of positive cases increasing each day. In this situation, Minister CT Ravi’s statement of opening salons, gyms, and golf clubs amidst Karnataka lockdown after May 17 has sparked a controversy.
According to minister CT Ravi, gyms will have restrictions like batches, fever testing, and sanitizers. In the case of Golf, since it is played with physical distance, the government is considering allowing it. He also stated that restaurants will be allowed to operate at 30% dining capacity. Previously, restaurants were only allowed to operate for parcel services. However, the question on everyone’s mind is whether this is necessary in this alarming situation.
Why were gyms and salons shut in the first place?
The restriction on gyms and salons is because of the fact that these places allow physical contact and this could lead to a faster spread of coronavirus. Although there is no proof that coronavirus spreads through sweat, Gyms and salons have a lot of high-contact surfaces. For instance, barbells, weights, and literally any fitness instrument you use in the gym is a shared entity. Now imagine a situation where equipment used by one infected person is used by hundreds of gym members all day. This would cause the virus to spread at an alarming amount. The same is the case for salons. You would come in contact with the same salon chair, scissors, and other tools in the salon which increases your chances of infection. Moreover, most of the salons and gyms today are air-conditioned which would even increase the risk of catching coronavirus infection.
What is the problem with opening up gyms and salons now?
The number of coronavirus cases in India is increasing rapidly and has already surpassed China’s infection count. Karnataka’s infection rate is comparatively low when compared to other states due to the enforced lockdown in Karnataka. However, opening up gyms and salons in this critical situation would lead to a massive outbreak. If history teaches us one thing about pandemics, they have a tendency of coming back after seemingly going away. It’s when the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 seemed to have gone away and people had started rejoicing in the streets and restarted their normal activities, a more deadly second wave of Spanish flu hit the world and killed more people than it did in the first wave.
In Karnataka’s most crowded cosmopolitan city, Bengaluru, reopening gyms and salons would only pave way for more infections. Also, Karnataka’s neighbouring state, Tamil Nadu, is among the topmost affected states in India, and guess which city is near Tamil Nadu Border? Yes, its Bengaluru. Reopening gyms and salons, especially in Bengaluru, means increased human contact that would potentially lead to more infections.
At this point, people have already started to enjoy not just working out, but styling their hair at home also. Reopening gyms and salons in Karnataka would only lead to one outcome- More infections! Currently, there are no official press releases or statements about the final decision about reopening gyms and salons from the Health Ministry of India. However, people feel that there is no need for the government to reopen the gyms and salons in Karnataka at this point.