EdA – Julien RENSONNET (illustration)
Fitness rooms and private sports clubs are also subject to the possible Covid Safe ticket requirement from 1 October in Brussels. The sector, “massacred”, is just recovering from its last confinement. “Bad profitability” is feared.
The hospitality sector is mainly concerned about a possible activation of the Covid Safe Ticket in Brussels from 1 October. But even fitness halls and private sports clubs could apply for a health pass this fall in the capital. While the industry is barely catching up, does the measure risk hampering its suitability? Let’s take stock with your representative in Brussels.
Stéphane Rutté, you are director of David Lloyd Belgium and spokesperson for Sport is Essential, an association representing the sports and fitness club sector in Brussels. What’s your state of mind when CST could take over your industry starting October 1st?
Our sector is a responsible sector. We were prepared for this. We can only go in the direction of political decisions. But the sector is massacred, in the same way as the restaurant business. These new constraints are not good for us. They will cloud a profitability that is just starting to recover. Because we? Why do we know that it is difficult to do sports with a mask? Yet have we never received statistics showing that clusters are born in our facilities?
The rooms were closed during the confinements. Then reopened in June. How is the relaunch going?
We didn’t sell a subscription over the holidays – it’s not the right time. The recovery was just starting to take shape. The Covid Safe Ticket is a hit. But we prefer the pass 1000 times to a new closure.
No doubt I have clients from Brussels who will become members in Waterloo.
The hotel and restaurant industry is asking to impose the CST on the Belgian scale: what about fitness?
Of course, I undoubtedly have clients from Brussels who will become members in Waterloo. But I prefer targeted rules even if I could legitimately consider the measure unfair given the high rate of vaccinations in Uccle, where my plant is located.
Some clubs want to be quite exclusive – does asking customers for a Covid Safe ticket risk creating tension?
First of all, our sector concerns the entire population: there are luxury clubs and low cost brands. As for the possible tensions, it is difficult to say. Will we call ourselves collaborators? We really have no choice: we will ask the CST to avoid closure and improve the situation in Brussels. And logically we will also ask our staff.
Will new constraints, practical or financial, be imposed?
There will obviously be additional hours of service for the control of the CST. But our clubs are equipped with portals and electronic systems: we are working to ensure that the pass only has to be presented once for each member. Our group is present in Italy and France: therefore we already know what the health subscription entails.
Our group is present in Italy and France: therefore we already know what the health subscription entails.
Do you support new aids?
The Brussels Region must assume its responsibilities. So far, he’s only done it halfway. Brussels remains the poor relative: it begins to hit the system.
How many jobs does your sector represent in Brussels?
We federated in the emergency of confinements, during which we had to find our way. A bit like the world of the night. Also, we don’t have an exact census. But Brussels has a high concentration of sports and fitness centers. So there are many direct jobs, but also indirect ones because many coaches are autonomous.
We have never stressed the importance of physical well-being as much as since the arrival of the covid. Our sector therefore has everything it needs to regain its position.
Do you see the end of the tunnel?
We have never seen so many people playing sports or insisting on the importance of physical well-being as much as since the arrival of the covid. And we have seen, in hospitals, the damage of the disease in some people in poor condition. This awareness is widespread. Our sector therefore has everything it needs to regain its position.