“We are very concerned, not least because there was no reference to our sector, which employs a lot of people. With no sign of being able to open, we can predict the closure of 60 to 70 percent of the gyms,” said José Carlos Reis, president of the Association.
The official stressed that, of the approximately 1,300 gyms in Portugal, “the majority are small clubs and not big chains”, so the maintenance of closed doors can have a strong impact on the fitness industry.
“It is very serious. We have about 17,000 direct employees, who are not working, but there are many more indirect jobs, related to maintenance, cleaning and safety, and this situation can affect in up to 50,000 people”, he said.
José Carlos Reis underlined that “there is no reason” to keep the gyms closed, noting that there are about 700,000 customers who will continue to be
deprived of the benefits that physical exercise brings to the mind and body, being “essential for well-being” , especially after a long period of confinement of the population.
“We are trying to be received by the Prime Minister, because we need urgent and specific support for the sector. It is impossible to maintain this situation. We are mainly talking about small businessmen and therefore, it is not possible to survive”, he stressed.
The Government defined on Thursday, 30 April, in the state of calamity plan that the First Football League and the final of the Portuguese Cup will be able to be held, it also allowed for individual outdoor sports, but decided to keep closed, among other sports facilities, gyms.