After five days of complete lockdown during the Eid al Adha holidays, the sultanate has opened partially with evening to dawn lockdown still in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

The 5pm to 4am lockdown - ordered by the Supreme Committee keeping in view the safety of the whole nation - is however affecting evening business activities - gyms are among the badly hit.

Office goers normally prefer to visit gyms after work; the ideal time being after 7pm. 

“Normally we get the crowd in the evening as people finish their work and come to the gym. This lockdown has effected their fitness regime,” said an official from the Horizon Gym.

He said the gym is offering online booking and most of their clients have changed their schedules. “They come in the morning now.”

Generally, most of the gym members prefer evenings for their workouts. 

An official from the Millennium Gym said, “Reasons are many. For many that’s the available time. Mornings are rush hours for most of us with travel, family commitments and work. Exercises must be done at leisure. Also most of the gyms are located in office areas, so that clients can easily visit them after work.”

The evening lockdown has also put paid to outdoor health activities like beach football, walking and jogging. 

Muscat resident Prakash Nair said, “Every evening after work I used to play badminton with my children in the parking lot of our building. The caretaker made a makeshift court and other tenants too joined. It was a social occasion. And also an excellent opportunity to sweat it out after sitting in front of the computer for hours during work. Now we just can’t step out in the evening.”

Abdullah Balushi from Old Muscat used to play football with his brothers and friends at Shatti beach every weekend. 

“Our games are not happening now,” he said. 

“We just can’t rush there at 3pm, finish a 90-minute match and rush back before 5pm. It is impossible and should never be recommended.”

Balushi feels authorities should allow people to walk alone at least. 

“There must be some sort of health activity. Not everyone has treadmills at home and neither do they have morning hours free,” he added.

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