SINGAPORE – The local fitness industry welcomed the enhanced support measures and rental waivers announced by the Government on Friday (May 28), saying the support will help tide them over until their businesses are allowed to fully reopen.
Eligible gyms and fitness studios can tap 50 per cent wage support under the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) – up to $4,600 of gross monthly wages paid to local employees – from May 16 to June 13, and this will replace the operating grant for gyms and fitness studios under the Sports Resilience Package (SRP).
They will also get up to a month of rental support under Rental Support Scheme.
Indoor sports facilities such as gyms have faced tougher operating restrictions under the ongoing phase two (heightened alert) Covid-19 measures, including having to close, unless they offer only low-intensity activities, where participants are masked and do not share common equipment.
Singapore Fitness Alliance president Sean Tan noted that the current JSS support for the fitness sector has doubled compared with last year’s. The director of True Group said: “Fitness businesses were not expecting to receive any rental waivers under the SRP, and were therefore very pleasantly surprised.
“This is an improvement over the rent waivers given last year for the circuit breaker, as those rent waivers were on base rent, not gross rent, which can be 20 to 30 per cent higher than base rent.
“By disbursement directly to tenants, situations where landlords hold on to rent waivers and do not disburse them to tenants can be avoided. These measures will go some way to provide support and assistance to fitness businesses until their businesses are allowed to fully reopen, hopefully no later than June 14.
“While the disbursement timings are not ideal, at least fitness businesses have a definite timeframe to work towards, and can make alternative arrangements in the meantime to stay afloat.”
Earlier in May, national agency Sport Singapore set aside support of up to $18 million under the SRP for eligible businesses and self-employed people affected by the latest Covid-19 guidelines.
Barre2Barre co-founder Jessica Anwar said that she is behind on rent and has closed her physical studio for the time being to run only online classes.
Ms Anwar said: “It didn’t make sense for me to pay the teacher for only two students coming in for such a low price. Anything from the Government does help, but the rent situation is quite tough for a lot of small businesses.”
In addition to the support to businesses, individuals in the fitness industry who experience at least one month of involuntary no-pay leave or income loss of at least 50 per cent for at least one month, between May 16 and June 30, may apply for the Covid-19 Recovery Grant (Temporary).
Eligible individuals placed on involuntary no-pay leave may receive a one-off payout of up to $700, and those experiencing significant income loss may receive a one-off payout of up to $500. Applications will open from June 3 to July 2.
Other new support measures announced by SportSG include a one-year membership extension for coaches and instructors with valid memberships in the National Registry of Coaches, usage permit fee waivers and one-year complimentary ActiveSG swimming pool entry access from June for SwimSafer coaches.
Self-employed people in the sports sector may also apply to use ActiveSG spaces for classes and/or filming.
Information on the full list of SRP support measures, eligibility criteria and application details can be found at this website.
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