STRUGGLING gyms, sports centres and fitness firms face are being left out of the government’s latest Covid support package.

Under the plans announced last Tuesday, hospitality and leisure firms can apply for grants of up to £6,000 per premises to mitigate the impact the Omicron variant has had on trade.

But fitness firms were given no targeted support, despite the impact that empty streets and offices will have on their business.

They will have to continue to apply for the much leaner discretionary grants from councils. These vary in their amount and are not guaranteed.

Leisure trade group UKactive estimates the sector has already lost more than £200m in revenues because of Omicron.

Gym owner John Famelton, who runs Inline Fitness Centre, said: “We are definitely not as busy as we would expect for this time of year.

"In terms of new memberships going into the new year and New Year joiners, we are not where we were before the pandemic. I do think that the reaction to the new variant and the government’s restrictions have made a noticeable difference."

Ukactive believes gyms, leisure centres and fitness firms should have been offered the targeted grants being provided to struggling hospitality firms.

It has also called for additional support, such as lower VAT rate in line with other sectors and the reintroduction of the furlough scheme.

“The support should definitely extend to the fitness industry. Why not? We have lost trade just he same as any restaurant or pub,” said Mr Famelton.

And it is not just the owners but the personal trainers who have been forgotten about, too. One personal trainer, Adam Campbell, said that he does not know how he will survive if the government imposes another lockdown.

“I have lost clients who just don’t feel comfortable going to the gym with the danger of Omicron.

“And if the government were to make restrictions more severe, or close gyms, I don’t know how I would survive – even with financial support.”

Personal trainers are often self-employed and rent the gym from the owner, they would receive no support from additional business grants even if they were extended to the fitness industry. As yet there is no additional support for the self-employed.