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Open letter from a Gym Owner in Singapore, WeiLi Ng

On May 22, I saw this post on Facebook by Wei Li who shared an open letter to our government seeking help for his gym business. Its really a challenging time for businesses, especially those that cant have a digital element. Like what Wei Li mentioned in his post, the income is $0 for his gym and plead for help with rental. Its really a tough time, I took his post and shared it here to help us understand how others are facing this Covid 19 crisis and morally support our brave business owners in Singapore.

“I’ve posted this on my instagram, might as well throw it up onto facebook as well. #becauseawareness

This is a long shot, I’m gonna give it a go.
I HOPE I’M ABLE TO GET YOUR ATTENTION.

I am here pleading for help on my rental.
I can’t possibly afford to pay rent with an un-operational business. (And to wait for Phase 2, we are as good as dead)
We are talking about $0 income.
I am the owner of a gym.
And speaking on behalf of every other gyms out there.. Yes.
We might not be AS ESSENTIAL AS clinics or hospitals.
BUT we are also at the same time MORE ESSENTIAL than just any fast food restaurants.

We are at the frontline of helping the nation to be healthier. We are the ones who change the lives of people, to quit smoking, to quit drinking, to quit partying because they want to hit the gym on every Saturday morning. These are all real life scenarios, not made up stories.

We are the ones who help countless of members to get better health markers. Spreading the importance of a proper nutrition, a proper well balanced diet. Keeping their blood pressure in check, blood sugar level in check, cholesterol level in check.

We are the ones here who help prevent chronic diseases/illness, like diabetes, stroke, heart diseases, obesity, hypertension in our community.
Prevention is better than cure, as we always preach. Maybe you (ministers) have never seen us (Coaches/Personal Trainers) in this perspective, but in this case, WE are that prevention. Before CGH, SGH and NUH steps in.

I can’t say or speak for big gyms franchise but however, smaller facilities akin to PT Studios and a Coach-centric environment, we are capable to limit the number of members, practice safety distancing measures and all the sanitisation procedures.
We are able to screen everyone who walk through our doors and turn anyone away who’s feeling unwell.

I’m not a minister, I don’t know what’s the macro picture you ministers are looking at. However I hope to put us on your radar and let you know that we are struggling and if nothing were to be done, some of us will cease to exist once this is all over.

I am not saying we must continue operations during this period. What I am asking for is a relief for us. FNBs/Hawkers got reliefs, and they are also able to still ‘sell’ food through third party partners and takeaways. What about us? We are practically trying to get donations from our members.

A relief can be

1) A substantial rent waiver until we can resume at least 50% operations. So yes, sucks to be our landlord. So if SLA and URA is not taking rent from the master tenants, master tenants cannot charge tenants for rental either. Make it compulsory and not “Landlords are encourage to…”
As of now Landlords does not give a flying shit.

2) A possibly earlier date to allow facilities to operate in a very controlled manner. And whichever facility that wants to function have to abide by these rules. If the rules does not make sense for certain facilities, they are to remain close.

3) Something other than the two stated above that you’ll announce on 26 May that would assist us in any way possible

I sincerely hope someone, anyone from the parliament is able to acknowledge the good that we’ve done and also reach out a helping hand to us.
Exercising is essential for everyone’s health and even more so after this pandemic.

Doing it the right way is crucial and we’re here to help.
Lee Hsien Loong Heng Swee Keat K Shanmugam Sc Parliament of Singapore Tan Chuan-Jin Lawrence Wong Singapore Land Authority Urban Redevelopment Authority Ong Ye Kung

Yours Sincerely,
Wei Li
#covid19 #helpplease