“Super happy, elated, absolutely thrilled,” De Ruijter says when we ask him how he and his colleagues feel about the upcoming reopening of Erasmus Sport. “We ourselves and particularly our clients have been waiting for this moment for months. We watched all of the [Prime Minister’s] press conferences and worked out after each press conference what kinds of activities we were allowed to offer – for instance, by organising a lot of things online and by teaching group classes outdoors. But being allowed to reopen our gym is a big deal for us. All the activities we were able to organise in the last few months filled up at once, so we expect the same to happen this time round.”

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“Recently, a lot of people have commented on the small number of time slots available,” De Ruijter tells us. “We’ve always done everything in our power to allow as many people as possible to book sessions, but due to the restrictions, there were always some people who missed out. We used the lockdown to make some big changes, so as to allow more people to book sessions. For instance, we divided the gym into an upper level and a lower level, with two separate entrances. As a result, we’re allowed to receive twice as many people. Moreover, we can now have fifty people inside at any given time, rather than just thirty, which makes quite the difference.”

'Catching up with friends is every bit as important'

De Ruijter and his colleagues were not the only people who couldn’t wait for the facility to be reopened. “Many people have contacted us to ask questions and provide suggestions that might allow certain activities to be offered. Students are really keen to start exercising again. They don’t just want to get some exercise, though. They want the social aspects, as well. We regularly see people come in, wearing exercise gear, only to end up spending an entire hour chatting to each other. And we don’t mind that at all. Students tend to be quite healthy, and catching up with friends is every bit as important.”

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The treadmills are immediately occupied Image credit: Milena Chopova