While NSW pubs are allowed to open with 50 people from 1st June 2020, yoga/meditation classes of even just one student indoors are not permitted. This is grossly unfair to yoga businesses and teachers, and is unappreciative of the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing that yoga/meditation provides for so many people.
We propose that yoga/meditation classes and studios should be allowed to open as they are relatively low-risk. COVIDsafe measures are easy to impose for the following reasons:
* Clients stay on their specified mats throughout a class so there is minimal mingling, and a strict per square metre distancing limit is easy to impose through mat layout and capped class numbers.
* Yoga requires minimal equipment, and clients do not need share equipment throughout a yoga class. It is already the norm to disinfect any mats and blocks at the end of every class. If necessary, most students can bring their own mats and towels to class so that there is no cross-contamination of equipment.
* Yoga classes are often low to medium intensity so viral transmission through heavy breathing and sweating is generally much less than other forms of exercise.
* Yoga teachers are highly skilled in giving verbal and visual demonstrations; they do not need to physically touch students to perform their job. Many studios have a no-touch policy anyway.
* Online booking and payment is already the norm for most studios so cash payments are rare and transactions at reception can easily be minimised.
In the National COVIDsafe plan, yoga classes and studios were supposed to open in Step 2, and now we are told that we must remain closed, while Step 3 is unexpectedly implemented for pubs, which will involve the mingling of much larger numbers of people.
If it's safe for pubs to open, it's more than safe for yoga studios to open with COVIDsafe measures.