Deone Aleong and his wife Monisa Aleong at their Alphalete Athletics Club in Maraval before the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Maraval personal trainer wants to be allowed to operate his business as he believes the model employed by businesses like his, provides sufficient protection against the spread of COVID-19.

Deone Aleong along with his wife, Monisa has owned and operated the Alphalete Athletics Club in Maraval for the past 10 years.

But since the second period since the country had its first case of COVID-19 on March 12, their fitness establishment has been mandated by the Ministry of Health, under the Public Health Regulations to be closed.

The decision, he said, has affected them dramatically as it’s their only source of income.

“During the first closure…we tried to keep the business going by going online…but (our clientele) dropped significantly from what we had before…we dropped to like 25 per cent capacity. Still having to pay rent and all these kinds of things- it’s been challenging,” he said.

It’s a similar situation, he said, during this second closure.

When they were allowed to reopen between the two phases of infection, he said they were never able to rebuild their capacity due to clients’ hesitance to return with the looming threat of the virus out there. This, he said, was expected “but we could have still managed.”

He believes their model of operations which was used even before the COVID-19 pandemic was safe, which is why he is asking that they be allowed to reopen.

“We have a lot of other gyms throughout the country running the same model as us and I strongly believe that we can operate safely. To my knowledge, gyms in this country, so far have not been a factor in the rise of cases,” he said.

He explained that both he and his wife would train people in groups of threes.

“No one can walk in and train on their own. Everyone has their specific time. They come for their time and training takes just about an hour,” he said.

During the period in between the phases, he said, this number was dropped to “one or two” clients at a time while maintaining a safe distance.