Physique Athlete Marissa Khan is trained by Wasim Mohammed at Health and Fitness Gym, Gulf View yesterday.

Cinemas remained closed but most of the popular gyms in South Trinidad reopened for the first time in three months yesterday. Adapting to the new normal, some fitness enthusiasts walked with their own sanitisation sprays and wipes as they cleaned the equipment before using it. For many of them, getting to the gym was like entering paradise.

“I feel great. I have been exercising every day for the past 17 years. I am almost 70 now and I am just happy to get back to my workouts,” Radhika Rajnauth exclaimed while doing leg presses at the Fitness Centre in South Park.

Denzil Layne also said he missed pumping iron and was thankful to finally return.

“It is an amazing feeling being here. I feel so happy and energized. This is like my second home,” Layne said.

Pensioner Reuben Satoo said he too loved to exercise and missed his daily gym workouts.

During his time at home during the COVID-19 lockdown, Satoo said he felt deprived.

“I think they should have reopened the gyms a long time. We only had eight deaths. They could have left the borders closed to their convenience but the gyms should’ve stayed open because people stay fit and healthy through exercise,” he added.

Customer service representative at the Fitness Centre Vindra John said she was surprised at the number of people who showed up to workout.

“We had over 40 people between 5 am to 10 am. It was really surprising,” she said.

She noted that the gym has social distancing in effect and every piece of equipment is sanitised after every use.”

However, at the Gulf View Fitness Centre, supervisor Ricardo Mungalsingh said they had cut the opening hours because of a lower turnout. He said classes have been disbanded until further notice.

“We have had a 20 per cent reduction in customers. Before we operated 24-hours but now we have cut down from 4 am to 10 pm,” he added.

Marisa Khan-Lutchman and Lissandra de la Cruz who were seen training for the T&T Body Builders Federation championships which are scheduled for later this year, also said they were pleased to be back in the gym.

Khan-Lutchman said she experimented with workouts at home but this was not sufficient for her training. Saying she felt the COVID-19 restrictions had hampered her ability to compete effectively, Khan-Lutchman said she was thankful to be in the gym once again.

At South Park, best friends Marilyn Lamont and Indra Sinanan sat down for breakfast.

The friends said the COVID-19 period was distressing for them.

“We like to come out and have breakfast together. We have been friends for 45 years,” Lamont said.

She explained that they now looked forward to enjoying a movie at the cinemas.

However, even though MovieTowne cinemas were scheduled to be opened, they remained closed yesterday.

Maintenance crews were busy at work cleaning down every seat and corner. The cinemas are scheduled to be reopened later this week once all works are completed. (See page 15) (RDS)