Mayka Navarro 07/27/2020
Martial arts exhibition in front of the Palau de la Generalitat in protest at the restriction and closure of gyms (.)
While the President of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, warned this Monday at a press conference that he will not allow himself to be pressured by anyone to tighten the restriction measures that slow down the uncontrolled advance of coronavirus in some parts of Catalonia, a hundred people occupied with Security the Plaza de Sant Jaume to make an exhibition of martial arts. With their white kimonos and accompanied by another hundred managers of gyms and sports associations, they demanded the reopening of the centers with the hygiene measures they were already practicing. Two of the physical trainers have been on a hunger strike since Friday, camped at the gates of the Generalitat, to demand the recovery of practices that ensure “they only bring health benefits, even in these times of pandemic.”
Xavi Moya and Jordi Calvet, two contact sports legends and owners of the Esports Rogent and Team Calvet gyms, decided on Friday to settle with tents in the Plaza de Sant Jaume and start a hunger strike, with the sole contribution of water and juices. Moya and Calvet are leading an initiative that has also been joined by Javi Zarca, from the Puro Impacto gym, and Frank Yarz, from the Dayton Gym Hospital. The first two lead an entire sector that is afraid of not getting ahead after the last closing decree.
From Sunday 19, the gyms, swimming pools and sports clubs of the city of Barcelona and of twelve municipalities in various neighboring regions are obliged to close their facilities for a minimum period of 15 days. With a partially raised ERTE, the heads of the centers begin to have serious difficulties in facing payrolls, rents and taxes.
The sector requires recovering practices that ensure “only bring health benefits”
“Before, I had 150 members and with the restrictions, which I understand, I have 80 and I work eight hours a day. I have a premises of 400 square meters in Badalona. My gym is an association of sports friends. We carry out integration and social assistance tasks and we have absolute control over everyone who enters. And if we have to take more measures that tell us, but they cannot treat us this way. The time has come when we cannot keep up with the clients I have. I can’t pay VAT and I’m starting to have nothing to eat ”, explains Jordi Calvet.
“I can’t pay VAT and I’m starting to have nothing to eat,” explains the owner of Team Calvet.
Calvet spoke this Monday with the Minister of Health, Alba Vergés, whom he surprised by having breakfast in a bar near the Generalitat. “I didn’t even know we were on a hunger strike. A shame. He has promised me that they will let us reopen because he understands that we are part of the health system. We will see if he keeps his promise, “he says suspiciously.
At the moment, neither Calvet nor Moya plan to move from the Plaza de Sant Jaume or abandon their protest until they have a “coherent” response from the administration. And they remember that there is no record of an outbreak in gyms or sports centers in Catalonia or the rest of Spain.