As of today, Monday the 13th of September, fully vaccinated residents of Sydney can meet up outside in groups of 5 for exercise or outdoor recreation.
According to the NSW Government’s list of Greater Sydney restrictions: “If you are fully vaccinated, from Monday 13 September 2021, you can attend an outdoor gathering of up to 5 people for exercise or outdoor recreation so long as all those at the gathering aged 16 years or over are fully vaccinated.”
You must have proof of your vaccination with you at all times, and you also must be prepared to show a Police Officer your proof of vaccination if it is requested.
The NSW Government website also states that the five person limit on these gatherings does not include children aged 12 or under, and that you also are supposed to stay within your local government area in order to exercise (if you need to cross into another local government area, you must stay within 5km of your home).
DMARGE spoke to John Field, owner and head coach of Bondi gym, Agoga, to understand what impact this new freedom will have on Sydney gym owners, as well as how the fitness industry has had to adapt to the constraints of 2021.
This new rule change, John says, “gives us a really good opening platform to be able to reach more people even though it’s smaller groups. But baby steps, as you can understand, for the number of cases [currently being seen in Sydney].”
“The upshot of even small groups is that it is connecting more people in one hit.”
“We’ll definitely put something on the timetable that allows for groups to come together, just something other than a screen; they get to look at different locations rather than a balcony or bedroom staring at a laptop.”
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As for how the lucky 5 will be picked, John refused to be drawn, saying there would be no preferential treatment but “you’ll book in via the app and it’s basically first in best dressed.”
“We won’t be hand picking any one.”
On a more serious note, John said “this might actually give some people the chance to come back and connect with us more often” as the pandemic has been a tough time for everyone.
He also told us that training has taken on a much greater mental health significance this year.
People are also investing more in their fitness at the moment, John reckons, “because it’s one of the four or five essential reasons you can leave the house.”
“It’s as important for their mental resilience as it is their physical outcome.”
“There’s a hell of a lot more people getting out in terms of 1 on 1 training. This type has gone through the roof,” John told us.
“There’s a lot of people down in Bondi and they’re in their 5km [radius]. Everyone sticking to walking with 1 person, doing what they can to stay sane.”
“The game now is less what I can do for them in the physical program design factor, it’s more about their mental state how they feeling and – sure we’re moving in the session – but we really want to [mentally] connect with everyone.”
“They’re feeling like this is their release. It’s a safe space for them to kick back, relax and enjoy that moment in their day.”
“That’s seriously important right now.”
As for how John sees the fitness industry coping with COVID he says: “Initially we thought it was a week, then it was July, and so on and so forth and the rest is history.”
As for those that are not yet fully vaccinated, the Greater Sydney restrictions state that you can exercise with 1 other person that you do not live with, or your nominated visitor (“singles bubble”).
The restrictions also state that if you live with more than 2 other people, you can all exercise together.
For those of you working out at home or on your own, check out the below video for some much-needed inspiration…