What you need to know as coronavirus closes gyms across Dubai: refunds, frozen memberships and Facebook live

All gyms and fitness studios will be closed in Dubai until the end of March

Gyms in Dubai are closed until the end of March. Walid Wadi
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As Dubai closes all gyms and fitness studios throughout the city, many have been left wondering what it means for their memberships. Especially considering many people pay for memberships in advance, or are tied into monthly costs.

But it looks like many studios will be freezing memberships as a result of the announcement, or coming up with alternative solutions.

Members of Classpass in Dubai are able to pause their memberships and will not be billed for additional credits at their next subscription cycle. All unused credits at the end of their current cycle will be available for use once the account is reactivated.

Warehouse Gym, which has studios in JBR, The Springs and Al Quoz, is freezing memberships from Sunday, March 15. A post on Instagram said, “In support of the global response, we will be closing the gym as of immediate effect as directed by the government until further notice. All memberships will be frozen today.”

We urge you to stay safe, stay calm and use the increased downtime to appreciate a little more 'me time'

All F45 memberships across the city have been suspended. John Karpathakis, head trainer and general manager at F45 Dubai Marina, said that "F45 is sending out daily workouts on social media for people to do at home." Memberships have also been frozen.

Barry’s Bootcamp, which has studios in DIFC and Dubai Marina, has also confirmed that it will be freezing memberships, as will spinning studio Crank, based in Al Quoz. In an email to members, it said, “All scheduled classes from today [March 15] will be cancelled and credits refunded. All monthly memberships will be frozen until we reopen.”

Members of Reform Athletica in Jumeirah were told they would be refunded for all cancelled classes on Sunday. "All accounts will be frozen until further notice," a spokesperson for the gym said. "We thank you for your understanding and support during a time that has undoubtedly been chaotic for us all to say the least. We urge you to stay safe, stay calm and use the increased downtime to appreciate a little more 'me time'."

Dubai-based yoga teacher Dina Ghandour has already arranged a solution to enable her classes to be taught at home. Shortly after the announcement was made, Ghandour set up a Facebook group ' 'Free Facebook LIVE 45 min Jivamukti Class - all levels' - through which she will be streaming live classes during the gym closure period.

"As a yoga teacher teaching every day, it felt difficult to imagine not being able to offer classes for two weeks,” she said. “Working from home isn’t an option when our workplace is a studio, but offering something from home is. I will be hosting free Facebook live classes to give students the chance to get on their mats, and tune in without having to leave the house. My first one is on midday at Monday, March 16 and the next is Wednesday, March 18 at 12pm.”

The announcement that gyms would close came following a circular from Dubai Media Office in response to the coronvirus outbreak, which was released on Sunday morning.

It read, “In line with ongoing efforts to safeguard public health, the Department of Economic Development directs all cinemas, theme parks, amusement games and electronic games centre, bodybuilding and fitness gyms and spring camps licensed in Dubai to halt all their activities and services for the public with immediate effect until the end of March 2020. These establishments will be subjected to inspections to verify their compliance with this circular.”

Gym classes in the emirate were immediately halted, with gym goers reporting classes being suspended mid-way. Although parks have been closed, Dubai residents are still able to walk and run outside.

Abu Dhabi has yet to close gyms, although many studios are taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety and sanitation of studios.