- Title: Gyms reopen in Syria as the government eases coronavirus restrictions
- Date: 28th June 2020
- Summary: DAMASCUS, SYRIA (JUNE 25, 2020) (REUTERS) PEOPLE USING TREADMILLS, ELLIPTICALS WHILE WORKING OUT AT A GYM WOMAN USING STATIONARY BIKE MAN USING WEIGHTS MACHINE EQUIPMENT AT THE GYM, WOMAN TRAINING IN BACKGROUND VARIOUS OF PEOPLE TRAINING AT GYM VARIOUS OF GYM OWNER, FIRAS SARA, WITH A CLIENT (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) GYM OWNER, FIRAS SARA, SAYING: "The coronavirus affected us financially, it really did. This is due to the price hikes that have happened across the country. Also, 80-90 percent of our population consider exercise to be a luxury, not a necessity, and luxuries are expendable. So many people either gave up exercising completely or are doing it less often. The number of our clients dropped significantly." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE TRAINING IN THE GYM / WORKER SEEN CLEANING TREADMILL VARIOUS OF RESTAURANT OWNER, SOMAR HAZIM, TRAINING WEIGHTS ON A RACK (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) RESTAURANT OWNER, SOMAR HAZIM, SAYING: "People can no longer afford going to the same gyms they used to go to, the top-quality gyms. But I think most people in Syria who own restaurants, gyms or any other businesses are understanding of people's current circumstances, so they are trying to adapt by decreasing their profit margins in order to keep their customers. Despite all this, the price hikes have been tough on everyone, on the owners of restaurants and gyms as well as on customers." VARIOUS OF EMPLOYEE SANITISING GYM EQUIPMENT EXTERIOR OF GYM
- Embargoed: 12th July 2020 11:41
- Keywords: COVID-19 Economy Exercise Gym Lockdown Syria
- Location: DAMASCUS, SYRIA
- City: DAMASCUS, SYRIA
- Country: Syria
- Topics: Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA001CKAAIXH
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Ellipticals, treadmills and weights that had been abandoned for close to three months are finally being used again, as Syrians return to their gyms after the easing of lockdown measures by the government.
But gym owners say their businesses have been hit hard by the lockdown and the recent price hikes across the country.
"The coronavirus affected us financially, it really did" said Firas Sara, who owns a gym in Damascus. "Many people either gave up exercising completely or are doing it less often. The number of our clients dropped significantly."
As the country re-emerged from a 70-day lockdown, Syrians found themselves facing a weakened pound and severe price hikes driven by recent sanctions.
The United States imposed tough sanctions on the embattled country in June, driving the currency to a record low.
The Syrian pound, steady at around 500 to the dollar for several years, hit a low of 3,000 this month. And the impact has been especially hard on small businesses.
Firas Sara said his gym lost many clients, with many seeing exercise as an expendable luxury, he said.
One gym-goer said recent events have been tough on everyone.
"People can no longer afford going to the same gyms they used to go to, but business owners are trying to adapt by decreasing their profit margins in order to keep their customers" said Somar Hazim, who also owns a restaurant.
The Syrian government reported 256 coronavirus cases so far, including nine deaths.
(Production: Kinda Makieh, Firas Makdesi)
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