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‘It’s heartbreaking … f***’: Emotional gym owner says industry is at breaking point

Neil Mitchell
Article image for ‘It’s heartbreaking … f***’: Emotional gym owner says industry is at breaking point

An emotional gym owner has fought back tears on 3AW, telling Neil Mitchell the industry in Victoria is at breaking point due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

“It’s not just hard for us,” Jeanette Saunders, from The Sweatshop Fitness and Nutrition at Hallam, told Neil Mitchell.

“It’s hard for our members who are stuck at home.”

She said last year was “really tough” after she opened the business in January 2020.

“We’ve been closed longer than we’ve been open,” Ms Saunders said.

“We got nothing last year from the government.”

Tony Doherty, a vocal leader for the fitness industry over the past year, said it made no sense for gyms to remain shut.

“There is just no evidence,” he said.

He also challenged Brett Sutton’s commentary about the issue.

The Chief Health Officer said 27 cases in Victoria’s second wave last year could be linked to gyms, with a fitness group in Hallam understood to be the source.

“There was no gym in Hallam ever listed as an exposure site,” he said.

“If that was the case, it would have been listed? It wasn’t.

“We’ve done our homework as an industry.”

He said it was his understanding the cases Professor Sutton referenced related to a home gym setup with no check-in system, no membership information for contact tracing or professional cleaning.

“We have had 6.4 million check-ins in Victorian gyms since November and not one case of community transmission,” he said.

Press PLAY below to hear Jeanette’s emotional call (and Tony’s passionate reaction)

Neil Mitchell
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