Gym in Bukit Timah Shopping Centre with suspected Omicron cluster remains open with fewer users
SINGAPORE - The Anytime Fitness outlet in Bukit Timah - where Singapore's first suspected Omicron cluster has been detected - had undergone a round of cleaning and was open on Tuesday morning (Dec 21), but some gymgoers are choosing not to return for fear of getting infected.
This comes after the Ministry of Health said early on Tuesday morning that two Covid-19 cases linked to the gym have tested preliminarily positive for the Omicron variant. The test result of a third case is still pending.
In a post on Instagram, the gym in Bukit Timah Shopping Centre said it was alerted to the Covid-19 cases on Monday. It added that the premises will go through another round of cleaning, and that the cases had visited the gym at least five days ago.
In a subsequent update at about 4pm on Tuesday, the gym said it would be closed for cleaning till noon on Sunday. It did not say when it would reopen.
The three patients, who are fully vaccinated, are two men, aged 21 and 24, and an 18-year-old Ngee Ann Polytechnic student. All have mild symptoms and had visited the gym between last Wednesday and last Friday.
A spokesman for the gym said the three cases did not participate in classes and had been doing their own individual training at the gym. Gymgoers are able to engage in strenuous exercises in gyms while unmasked.
Only two people were in the gym when The Straits Times visited at around 10am on Tuesday. Staff were seen spraying and wiping down gym equipment with disinfectants.
While some people choose to continue using the gym, others will be staying away for the next few weeks.
One of them, who wanted to be known only as Mr Tan, did not know about the suspected Omicron cluster until he was approached by ST.
The sales manager, 45, who visits the branch once a week, said he is worried and will be going to another branch for now.
Another gym user, who wanted to be known only as Mr Teo, said the last time he visited the gym was last Friday. Since then, he has been avoiding the outlet, as he does not want to get infected.
He said: “The gym facilities are used by everyone, and there is a chance of the virus spreading through the contact with equipment surfaces.”
Other gymgoers were unperturbed by the Covid-19 situation there.
Mr Willy Darajat, who has been a member since 2019, said he is not too worried because he is fully vaccinated. The 30-year-old said the positive cases will not have much impact on his lifestyle as Singapore heads towards an endemic stage of living with Covid-19.
Bukit Batok Secondary School student Yan Jing Kai said he chose to visit the gym on Tuesday morning despite knowing about the cluster.
The 16-year-old also said he was not that worried, given that there have been other local cases here.
The mall was also quiet on Tuesday morning, with the upper floors almost empty and not many people walking around. Most shops and tuition centres were also closed.
Some tenants are worried about how their businesses would be impacted with the news.
A cafe owner who wanted to be known only as Mr Liu said he is concerned that news of the suspected cluster will lead to fewer customers coming by. There were still many vacant seats at his cafe around 11.45am.
He said: "It's a normal, knee-jerk reaction from customers when they hear news about this new virus."
Mr Liu also said that the authorities should have informed tenants earlier, since the Covid-19 cases had visited the gym last week.
Meanwhile, shops in the vicinity are taking measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
Mr Stanley Ngoi, store manager of the recently opened drink shop Cocolemon, said business has always been quiet, and was afraid that the news may cause business to worsen.
Staff have been reminded to keep their masks on at all times, and they are also undergoing weekly antigen rapid tests.
Ms May Toh, who owns a juice stall on the same level as the gym, said she will try to sanitise the items in her store more often.
Mr Anthony Fok, who runs an economics tuition centre at the mall, said he will be moving all his classes online for the next two weeks as a precaution. He will also do the same for his branch in Tampines.
He said: "This situation is inevitable, considering the outbreak in other countries. There is nothing to be overly worried or concerned about, as long as we keep to the safety measures to mitigate the risks of exposure."
Auto, H. (2021c, December 21). Gym in Bukit Timah Shopping Centre with suspected Omicron cluster remains open with fewer users. The Straits Times. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/gym-with-suspected-omicron-cases-remains-open-with-fewer-users-some-choosing-to-avoid-exercising-there