knock-on effect | 

Gyms hit hard as new Covid rules cause widespread cancellations

New rules require members to provide a Covid vaccination pass on entry
While January is usually a popular month for gyms as people being new years resolutions, the LHFA are expecting a decline of 40 per cent next month.

While January is usually a popular month for gyms as people being new years resolutions, the LHFA are expecting a decline of 40 per cent next month.

Clodagh Meaney

Gyms across Ireland have reported widespread membership cancellations as new Covid rules kick in.

Earlier this week, new Covid restrictions that were introduced at gyms, leisure centres and hotels require people to present vaccination certs before entry.

Karl Dunne, chief executive of the Leisure, Health and Fitness Association (LHFA), told The Irish Times that some members are being hostile towards gym staff.

[Staff] are finding members coming in and saying ‘I am not vaccinated, so I can’t use it, so I want to either cancel or suspend membership’.”

“It’s quite common across all our members, who have come back to us that they are receiving hassle from a certain cohort.”

Karl said that one gym reported that more than 100 people demanded to cancel or suspend their membership.

He said he raised this issue in a meeting with Department of Sport officials on Thursday.

While January is usually a popular month for gyms as people being new years resolutions, the LHFA are expecting a decline of 40 per cent next month.

The association has called for enhanced financial support from the Government, including a grant for heated swimming pools.

Many sectors are coming to terms with the new Covid restrictions which came into effect on Tuesday, December 7.

The entertainment industry was forced to impose a 50 per cent capacity for events such as plays, pantos and concerts until at least January 9.

The decision has had a huge knock-on effect on those who work in live entertainment.

Speaking to Ryan Tubridy on his Radio One programme earlier this week, Hugh Mulligan, known as Malaki, said that there is not much left for entertainers to do, and it now lies with the public to support home-grown artists.

“At this stage, it doesn't come down to the artist, it comes down to the fans and the people and the public to buy [merchandise] to support, to look after home grown artists before any other artists," he said.

“To radio stations to play Irish artists to keep it going, because at this stage we’re really struggling and we’re losing our livelihood and if it goes on any longer there's not much else we can do,” he said.

“I had to get my part time job back again,” he told Ryan.

“I’m working in a hospital again, many other artists are doing the same thing so it's really a cry to the public and the fans, rather than the artists, to really stick their head out and put a bit of money into the merch for Christmas."

Meanwhile, both Christy Moore and Dermot Kennedy have been forced to make changes to upcoming gigs.

Christy had to cancel five of his shows at Vicar Street before putting 50 per cent of tickets back on sale in order to comply with the new rules

Dermot Kennedy also decided to continue with his two 3Arena concerts by moving half of each audience to an earlier show time.

He will now be playing a concert at 5pm followed by another gig at 9pm on both December 13 and 14. All four performances will be fully seated.


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