The prime minister may have found his inability to correctly pronounce ‘barre’ funny, but the owners and staff of fitness studios around Australia are not laughing.
The government’s shutdown of pilates, barre and similar fitness classes from midnight on Wednesday in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus will see thousands more people join already lengthy Centrelink queues across the country.
One of those trying desperately to avoid financial ruin is Renae Scott, who has run a barre and pilates studio near Sydney’s iconic Bondi beach for the past 20 years.
Ms Scott told Daily Mail Australia she saw the writing on the wall for her business on Monday after the closure of gyms, and had made a hasty transition to online classes in the 24 hours before Scott Morrison’s announcement – a last ditch effort to stop her from going under.
Renae Scott, 40, says she will be forced to shutdown her barre and pilates studio unless she receives rental assistance following the government’s latest coronavirus measures. Over the past 24 hours she has moved her business online (pictured) in a last ditch effort to stay afloat
‘It’s a real shock to the system. At this stage we’re just taking each day as it comes, and that’s the thing that spins me out – the uncertainty,’ Ms Scott, the owner of Barre Attack and Balance Moves studio, said.
‘In the past 24 hours we’ve gone fully online. We’ve bought lights, cameras and all we need to try and stay afloat, it is really a last ditch effort.
‘The big difficulty with virtual and online lessons is that people don’t want to pay as much, because they aren’t getting the hands-on teaching and they think they can just get it for free on YouTube anyway.
‘We are already struggling to pay the rent and I’ve applied for a rent reduction and a rent pause, but the landlord has not come to the table.
‘There have already been days where I’ve considered packing up, I think: “Is it all too hard?” Especially when you think this will last for six months, but we will keep going for as long as we can.’
Ms Scott, 40, said in recent days she had been inundated with messages from other studios around country – many owners of whom she has trained over the years.
While she is making a last ditch effort to stay afloat, many of them have already been forced to shut their doors.
‘At this stage we’re just taking each day as it comes, and that’s the thing that spins me out – the uncertainty,’ Ms Scott (pictured at her Bondi studio) said
Prime Minister Scott Morrison imposed further restrictions on areas of large social gatherings, including fitness classes, food courts, galleries and museums to combat the spread of COVID-19 at a press conference on Tuesday night (Pictured)
Hundreds of thousands of Australians have joined lengthy queues outside Centrelink offices across the country in recent days, with the government’s strict coronavirus measures leading to mass job losses
Asked what she thought about outdoor bootcamps and fitness classes being able to continue with a maximum of 10 people, Ms Scott said she was unimpressed by the government’s decision.
‘I thought about whether we could go outdoors, but that’s still a gathering of people and I just don’t feel right about that,’ she said.
‘You also assume that with the way things are going, that will be the next thing to be shut down.’
The latest round of measures announced by Mr Morrison on Tuesday night also saw overseas travel completely banned, and further restrictions on food courts, funerals and weddings.
‘This will be a significant sacrifice, I know,’ Mr Morrison told reporters following an emergency meeting of state and territory leaders.
‘It is very important to strictly manage the social distancing and limitations of the number of people in their premises, so that’s four square metres per person.
Boot camps and outdoor classes will be allowed to continue with a maximum of 10 people, but Ms Scott said she though these would be the next things to be shutdown
Under the restrictions announced on Tuesday night, weddings will be limited to five people and funerals to 10
‘On top of that, to restrict the amount of time a patron is in the premise to no more than 30 minutes.’
Real estate auctions and open houses will also no longer be allowed to take place.
Social sports such as large groups of people playing soccer in a park have also banned, and boot camps and personal training will be restricted to a maximum of 10 people.
There was speculation Mr Morrison could announce Italy-style home lockdowns on Tuesday night, but health officials advising him said the ‘trigger point’ for when those drastic measures should be considered had not yet been reached.