Lockdown-hit Melbourne gyms reopen

Liz Hobday
·2-min read

Melbourne pilates teacher Aaron Smith was so keen to reopen his studio after four months of lockdown that when restrictions lifted at midnight on Sunday he did so five minutes later.

The midnight opening wasn't a problem for his clients at KX Pilates.

"We only had to call ten people, and they all showed up," Mr Smith said.

The KX Pilates chain had to rely on its interstate operations to stay afloat during Victoria's lockdown, but things are now looking up - with classes booked out more than a month in advance.

"I think we're going to see a huge boom in exercise, fitness, and health," he said.

Melbourne's widespread COVID-19 restrictions eased again on Sunday, with indoor fitness allowed to operate, and an easing of rules for other venues.

The manager of Melbourne women's fitness centre FoxFit, Tom Hose, said he too has "waitlists and waitlists" of people wanting to start face to face training again.

But he says patrons have to wear a mask unless they are doing strenuous physical exercise.

He's expecting about 80 people through the doors on Monday.

"It's like they've been away from home... there are a lot of people rejoicing," he said.

Lockdown-hit publicans say things are looking up for them too.

The Victoria Hotel in Melbourne's west is now allowed to host 30 people inside and 70 outside, and it's been booked out for every meal.

Pub owner Anthony Hammond says while the lockdown has been extremely hard financially, he's enjoying seeing regulars again.

"The punters are back and the sun is shining," he said.

But Melbourne's CBD is still quieter than usual.

At CBD burger restaurant Royal Stacks, business was up fifty per cent on Monday.

But owner Dani Zeini says it was still half the normal amount of trade for this time of year.

"I feel people appreciate being out, and how hard restaurants have had it during the lockdown," he said.