Mask, gel, distancing … The sports halls are preparing for the recovery


The health protocol is expected within two weeks. He should leave aside the obligation to wear a mask during sports practice.

Closed since October, the sports halls finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. On June 9, fans of running, bodybuilding and group lessons will be able to find their favorite establishment all over France. On condition, however, to respect health constraints, indicate several representatives of the sector.

Under discussion between representatives of the sector and the Ministry of Sports, the protocol that will apply in these places should broadly resume the rules that applied before the closure, last September: marking on the ground , ventilation of the premises, distribution of hydroalcoholic gel, limited changing rooms, regular disinfection of equipment, compulsory mask when traveling in the establishment, social distancing … These are all points already known to practitioners. “The protocols were already very strict, so there is no need to strengthen them again», Notes the general delegate of Union Sport & Cycle, Virgile Caillet.

To the great satisfaction of professionals, the mask should not be made compulsory during sports practice. A doubt hung over this point, which “divided the profession“, And on which the manufacturers put pressure, according to Guillaume Schroll, vice-president of FranceActive, the professional union of companies of physical activities of leisures. “There is no longer any question of making it compulsory“, He welcomes, stressing that this obligation would have been repulsive for customers. Its health effect would also have been uncertain.

The mask only made sense if it allowed it to reopen a little earlier, in January. We were ready to accept it for that. Now it would be incomprehensible, the window has passed», Notes Virgile Caillet. Authorities “were afraid of monstrous distortions between brands that can easily buy masks for their customers, and those that will have more difficulty“, Advances an actor, who points the”budgetThat would have required the purchase of hundreds of masks for establishments weakened by months of crisis.

Among the avenues still under discussion, it may be mandatory to book to have access to the rooms. One way to ensure strict compliance with the gauges. Rooms may also need to designate a “Covid referent“.

Discussions on the maximum number of clients

The question of the gauges is also one of the points on which the attention of the actors is focused: for the moment, the executive plans a gauge established at 35% of the maximum capacity of reception of the public. But some consider this gauge too restrictive: “if we are made to reopen in too degraded conditions, it will only worsen the situation of the rooms», Deplores Virgile Caillet. Everything is a matter of balance, to allow companies to resume their activity while limiting the risks of contamination.

As the area of ​​the rooms is often large, 35% would be too low, it is argued: this gauge “not suitable for sports areas”Considers Union Sport & Cycle, arguing for a system similar to that of shops, based on a number of m² per customer. “With 35% we end up with ridiculous numbers», Regrets Virgile Caillet. Discussions are therefore still ongoing. These gauges should be “very temporary“, Wants to believe Céline Rémy Wisselink. For the co-founder of the chain Neoness, it would be better to apply a gauge of 50% or a calculation of m² per customer.

18 months to return to the pre-Covid level

In the longer term, these professionals will need to be financially supported by the public authorities: unlike restaurants, which will fill their terraces as soon as the business takes over, the sector’s economic model is based on subscriptions. If users will return on June 9, the summer period is rather slack, in normal times, and the subscriber base will take months to rebuild … Assuming that the health situation does not worsen in the weeks to come. come.

We have lost about half of the subscriptions in our theaters», Estimate FranceActive and Union Sport & Cycle. The same goes for Neoness, where the loss amounts to 45% of the base. “As we have stopped taking our customers since September, those who remain motivated and want to take back are still there. But we are going to have 50% of new customers to seek out, it will be very gradual», Specifies Céline Rémy Wisselink.

The rooms hope to garner a maximum of new subscribers next September, after a “unfavorable phaseExpected this summer. “What is at stake is not so much the characteristics of the reopening, but rather how long we will be helped by the government», Notes Guillaume Schroll. The sector hopes to be supported until at least December, the time to rebuild the cash flow. “There is a real expectation to play sports, but will people be coming back right away?“Asks the representative of FranceActive.

While they are relieved to finally have a resumption date, reps are on their toes. “The fitness system will take 18 months to regain its pre-Covid level», Summarizes Guillaume Schroll, who adds that professionals can not be serene, given the level of uncertainty generated by the pandemic. “We keep our fingers crossed to keep the indicators in the right momentum today», Hopes Virgile Caillet.

The final version of the protocol which will apply is awaited “within two weeks», In order to allow professionals enough to re-mobilize their teams, to put them back in shape, if necessary, and to apply the instructions in the establishments. “Even if we only have three days, we will adapt. After a year we are used toSmiles the co-founder of Neoness.

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