THE Lesotho Health and Fitness Clubs Association (LHFCA) has submitted a request to the National Covid-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) for funding to assist its members who have been hit hard by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Apart from the financial crisis, LHFCA also wants the government to allow gyms to open under strict conditions to ensure that they do not spread Covid-19.
Lesotho followed the rest of the world in suspending sporting activities and social gatherings in March this year in an attempt to keep Covid-19 at bay.
However, the country has gradually relaxed the Covid-19 regulations and this month Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro announced that out-door activities and non-contact sports can now resume.
And the LHFCA, a union of private gym owners in Lesotho, says it is eager to engage the government and promote positive health but says they were unhappy about the M20 000 relief fund offered by the government.
LHFCA president Mokhethi Mofo said they were told by the Lesotho Enterprise Assistance Program (LEAP) that it can only assist businesses with a maximum of M20 000. He said the figure was too little compared to the huge loses they have incurred in the last four months when they have been forced to close down.
“We spend way more above that monthly on rentals and paying of our staff,” Mofo said.
“Apart from that, we have outstanding rental debts since we have not been able to pay rent for four months, so we are also worried that our landlords will eventually lose their patience and kick us out.
“…We need assistance on two critical issues namely rentals and staff salaries.”
If they do not get assistance, Mofo predicts that their staff and their dependents would starve while their businesses would be forced to shut down completely.
LHFCA also wants NACOSEC to its members to start operating under strict regulations.
“If only LHFCA representatives could work closely with the authorities then they could come up with a solution.”
He proposed that they would open for one-hour sessions and reserve 30 minutes for cleaning and disinfecting the facilities. They also proposed to have a maximum of 10 clients per session.
LHFCA members would use infrared thermometres to screen their clients while it would be mandatory for all clients to use sanitisers on entry.
“All members must bring their own sanitisers, gym towel and water bottles which shall not be exchanges with other members.
“LHFCA implores NACOSEC to grant it permission to operate under the said conditions and in compliance with the Public Health Regulations approved by the government on Covid-19,” reads the letter.