Friday 22 January 2021

Fitness clubs threaten court action over order to shut until September 1


Fitness clubs and gyms are threatening court action if the government refuses to bring forward the provisional date when they can reopen from September 1.

The Volkskrant reported over the weekend that the sector was considering a legal challenge to the decision not to let them open their doors on June 1, despite a positive reaction to the protocol presented by sector lobby group NL Actief.

Prime minister Mark Rutte said on Tuesday the clubs would not be opening because working up a sweat in a small confined space was too risky. He also said that cleaning equipment might prove too difficult. Rutte was referring to the uncertainty about a possible spread of the virus via aerosols in enclosed spaces.

NL Actief reacted furiously to the announcement, saying the decision left ‘4,000 companies and three million people in the cold.’

The lobby group is meeting medical care and sports minister Martin van Rijn on Tuesday in an effort to change the decision, or ask the courts to decide.

‘If we are made to wait another four months, half of the clubs and gyms will not be open at all because they will have gone under,’ NL Actief director Patrick Rijnbeek told the Volkskrant.

Rijnbeek is particularly annoyed at the prime minister’s ‘almost denigrating’ attitude to the sector, which is represents a turnover of 1.5bn and 84,000 fulltime jobs, he told the paper.

According to Rijnbeek the protocol ensuring a safe environment, which was presented a month ago, met with ministerial approval. The ministry said, however, that ‘a good protocol is not a guarantee for opening up’.

‘The cabinet is always stressing the importance of vitality and health. That’s exactly what we are here for,’ Rijnbeek said.

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