Second Virgin Active shuts its doors as member tests positive for Covid-19

19 March 2020 - 16:35 By Naledi Shange
A second Vrigin Active has closed after one of its members reportedly tested positive for Covid-19.
A second Vrigin Active has closed after one of its members reportedly tested positive for Covid-19.
Image: 123RF / Man64

The Virgin Active in Cresta, Johannesburg, shut its doors on Thursday after one of its members reportedly tested positive for Covid-19.

The gym sent a text message to its members saying the person tested positive on Wednesday.

“The member visited Virgin Active Cresta on 14 March [from] 12-1pm,” said the gym.

“We take the welfare and safety of our Virgin Active family very seriously. We have engaged a specialist company to carry out a deep clean and disinfection of the club. The club will be closed for overnight disinfection as a precaution.

“Please seek medical advice if you experience any symptoms.” 

This is the second Virgin Active gym to close in as many days.

On Wednesday, the gym group reported that it had to shut its doors at Melrose Arch after a member tested positive for Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus.

The gym was closed until further notice.

TimesLIVE reported on Wednesday that Virgin Active was adamant about keeping its gyms open despite government calls to avoid such facilities.

Though it was closing facilities for children “in line with government-mandated school closures”, the international fitness brand said it would keep gym doors open but restrict attendance to less than 100 members at a time.

Virgin Active said on Wednesday that it had adopted international best practice with the continued operation of its gyms, which remain open internationally.

“With member access data, we are able to identify when exactly a person under investigation (PUI) entered a club and who they may have been in contact with for the duration of their visit,” said the company’s head of corporate and media communications, Carla White.

“Shopping centres, retailers, public transport ... don’t have this benefit. Our access data can be made available to the NICD [National Institute for Communicable Diseases] in their efforts to trace a PUI’s interactions.” 

White said Virgin Active had made numerous changes to its clubs, including:

  • closing water fountains;
  • removing boxing pads and yoga hammocks; and
  • increasing cleaning staff and the frequency of cleaning.

Some people took to social media to criticise the company.


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