Gym owners in Ballarat are no closer to fully opening their premises, and frustration is continuing to build for some.
In a video shared on social media, D2E Gym owner Eric Morris demanded the state government explain why gyms with strong infection control measures could not open, given the added safety from masks, and the precedent set in other states.
"Why have they made metro and regional all as one when it comes to indoor recreation?" he told The Courier.
"Let's take NSW for example, gyms are open and they don't have mandatory masks - it seems like there's not a whole lot of fairness.
"It's frustrating - with masks, with infection control like we do, I don't understand why (we can't open)."
However, according to the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, there has been one outbreak of COVID-19 linked to a gym in the state.
It's understood 27 cases were linked to this outbreak, but there were no further details on whether this was in a regional or metropolitan area, or if it occurred while masks were mandatory.
Personal trainers and staff are allowed inside their gyms, with up to five allowed to record or stream classes.
"Gyms are currently closed under Victorian restrictions as the nature of working out carries a high risk of transmission, due to sweat and heavy breathing as well as shared equipment. This applies to both small and large gyms," a DHHS spokesperson said.
"Under both the regional Victoria and the metropolitan Melbourne roadmaps, indoor gyms are scheduled to reopen in the Last Step. The Last Step is expected to start from November 23 subject to having no new cases and public health advice.
"We understand everyone is making huge sacrifices and the closure of gyms have been difficult, but this strategy is working and we are driving cases down."
Some smaller gyms have been able to adapt to the rules allowing outdoor classes of 10 or less, or have borrowed out equipment - for example, CB Fitness' Kay Hodgson said she's been able to move most boxing and strongman training outside.
"Every owner has massive plans in place so we don't have a cluster in Ballarat," she said.
"My opinion is if this is what it takes - and I know others are pushing quite strongly for gyms to reopen, and I totally understand, but for my business model, I know all my guys have been training still."
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The issue is in competitions - Ms Hodgson has had to cancel this year's Ballarat's Strongest Man and Woman competition, and worries Victorian competitors may be disadvantaged into the future.
"It was supposed to be at the end of November but we've pulled the pin on that totally," she said.
"I'm finding the novices that are coming through haven't trained as much, so that's where that's going to fall down a little bit - other states will be more dominant in 12 months time."
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