FITNESS fanatics across the South Coast rejoiced on this week as the NSW government outlined plans for exercise centres and children's community sport to resume within the next month.
Under 18s sport can resume from July 1, while gyms, dance studios and other physical fitness centres in NSW will be allowed to reopen on June 13, under strict guidelines.
These include only 10 people being allowed to partake in classes of dance, yoga or pilates, while up to 100 people will be permitted inside an indoor venue such as a gym - which excites Coastal Fitness Movement's James Asquith.
"With opening dates already being established in every other state, it was quite frustrating being left in the dark about NSW's resumption.
"But now we've got a date to work towards and can't wait to get started."
Indoor pools and saunas, which can also reopen with restricted numbers, have been closed since March like Asquith's gym, which he runs with AJ and Alyssa Hatch.
"Our gym was heavily impacted by the lockdown just like most gyms and other small businesses, Asquith, who's worked at the gym since 2016 (outdoor training) before becoming an owner two years later, said.
"The months before COVID-19 were the best we've had since opening our doors in early 2017.
"Some could say it was unlucky timing but we consider ourselves fortunate, as it set us up to get through the lockdown period financially even if we didn't get assistance from the government for our tenancy.
"Like most businesses, we moved straight to the online movement.
"We offered exercise programming, nutrition as well as wellness advice and strategies to all of our members.
"Since the gym was going to be essentially unused space, we decided to lease out all of our gym equipment also.
"We had members take literally everything, from barbells and dumbbells to gym flooring and even the mounted wall cells.
"As much as it was needed for some much-needed income, it was equally as important to offer our members an opportunity to access equipment for their mental clarity and to keep their headspace strong, in what was a testing time for many."
The first easing of restrictions came on May 15, which allowed Coastal Fitness Movement to run small, outdoor sessions for their clients - an opportunity they jumped at.
"Outdoor training isn't appealing to all, so we had limited classes, held throughout the day, to best cater to everyone's availabilities and schedules," Asquith, who plays for the Jamberoo Superoos, said.
"We still had to negotiate with council areas on which areas we were allowed to train on, but thankfully, we did not have to pay the usual permit fees associated with outdoor training which was incredibly helpful.
"Hats off to our members who braved the conditions and got their sessions in."
Then the second lot of restrictions ease on June 13, the Kiama Downs-based gym will have to make even more adjustments, to ensure they are adhering to the strict protocols issued by the state government.
"There will obviously be a few changes when we resume trading again, however, none that will throw out the dynamic or day-to-day running of the gym too much," the 28-year-old Asquith said.
"We will have a booking app to ensure social distancing guidelines are strictly in place.
"Reducing the risk of infection will also be addressed in a number of ways, including our front doors will temporarily be entry only with an exit through the back door, mandatory 'no towel no train' policy and our water cooler will no longer be accessible.
"Hands must be sanitised before entering and leaving the gym while all equipment must be wiped down when you're finished.
"If you or anyone in your home have been feeling at all unwell, please stay home."
As stressful as this lockdown period has been for some small business owners, Asquith believes it will benefit his gym in a number of ways moving forward.
"I believe some clients won't stress if they miss a day in the gym for whatever reason, as they now realise you can get in a quality session at home with minimal or even no equipment," he said.
"The biggest benefit from the forced closure however is realising the ability to access health and fitness should not be taken for granted.
"As a result, I believe the cleanliness and courtesy of all our members will increase, in turn making the gym environment safer and even more enjoyable than ever before."