Central Victorian gyms rejoiced after learning that as lockdown restrictions eased across the state, workouts could resume too - the first time eases have been on par.
Bendigo Snap Fitness owners Matt and Emma McDowall had just opened their second gym in Epsom on July 12, four days before Victoria entered its fifth lockdown.
"Even though this was a short lockdown, I felt this one was hardest personally and for the business," she said.
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"Even though last year had longer lockdowns, as a business there was a lot more support with JobKeeper, government grants and the community was really up and about supporting small businesses.
"Now, JobKeeper has finished, landlords are not giving rental releases and our staff have no annual leave. Every time a lockdown happens now it gets a bit worse and we have nothing in reserve.
"With a new business we don't have anything in reserve as we hadn't made any money yet. It was very scary."
Throughout each lockdown, many fitness clubs had pivoted to online home workouts to keep people's bodies moving but Mrs McDowall had noticed attendance numbers waning as lockdowns continued.
The fitness instructor said gyms had previously been forced into extended lockdown - up to six weeks after the state's second lockdown in 2020 - and believed that was unfair.
Between May and June 2021, seven gyms were listed as coronavirus exposure sites with no community transmission detected.
"I've always been really hopeful going into the announcements but I did expect that we wouldn't be treated fairly because of the other roadmaps out of lockdown," she said.
"I was pleasantly surprised when we could re-open.
"Both of our clubs had about 10 people in them just past midnight after restrictions eased and they were very keen which is super exciting for us.
"The community support has been overwhelming, every time we lockdown, people realise how much they need fitness for their mental and physical health.
"It's really good to be back open."
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