Fitness crowd feels out of shape on the money

Top News | Kelly Yu and Erin Chan 11 Aug 2020

Almost half of the fitness industry and three quarters of trainers have yet to receive a subsidy under the anti-epidemic fund, according to a survey by the Hong Kong Fitness and Combat Union.

Fitness centers were among 12 types of businesses ordered to close amid the resurgence of Covid-19 infections.

The survey compiled from 900 responses looks at problems with the second round of the anti-epidemic fund and backs a demand for more help.

It found that nearly 50 percent of the sector had not received the subsidy of HK$100,000 during the second round, and 75 percent of coaches had not received a subsidy of HK$7,500.

Eighty percent of respondents said the government should release subsidies within one to two weeks of applications.

And 60 percent said the HK$100,000 subsidy did not take into account floor areas and rents.

"The survey found the expenditure of these set ups, including the rents, is in a range between HK$100,000 and HK$600,000," a union spokesman said.

On the HK$7,500 for a trainer, the union noted that over 60 percent of people who are supposedly eligible failed to apply for it.

And 97 percent would like a new round in the anti-epidemic fund for all sectors impacted financially by the third surge of Covid-19 infections.

On operating costs, over 70 percent said they must pay rent despite having no income.

About three quarters said they could only sustain operations for three more months.

The spokesman for the union also said there is no need to shut down fitness centers completely.

"From May until now there has been only one infection related to fitness centers," he said. "It shows fitness centers can still operate."

World boxing champion Ng King-chung said full-time athletes already lack financial support, and now they have lost places to teach. "We have to go to parks to teach students."


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