The federal government's decision to close gyms has been a blow to Illawarra owners as they come to terms with how their businesses and franchises will survive a potential six-month shut down amid rising coronavirus cases.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced facilities would be restricted from opening from midday Monday.
Those include pubs, registered and licenced clubs and hotels; gyms and indoor sporting venues; cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs; restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery; and religious gatherings and places of worship or funerals.
Shellharbour's Fitness Express 24/7 owner George Taousanis is now suspending membership fees ahead of what he anticipates will be a "very difficult" couple of months.
"We still have overheads. If the closure extends to six months, it could bring many businesses, not just gyms, to their knees," he said.
"I am in a little better position than some as I own the premises where the gym is set up so I don't have to pay rent.
"The government is doing what it can to help businesses but the rebate won't cover us for six months."
Mr Taousanis said the gym was still busy on Monday morning with some gym-junkies rushing to stock up on protein powder.
He encouraged people to do sit-ups and push-ups at home to help themselves stay fit and healthy, both mentally and physically.
Thirroul Yoga Shala business owner Alyson Johnson said she felt for her community of yoga-clients who would now be disconnected following the cancellation of all classes.
"I am encouraging my clients to join our Facebook group and post videos or pictures of themselves doing yoga routines as that is one way we can stay together," she said. "I am working on creating instructional videos."
She said she had cancelled her rent at her yoga studio and would need to rely on her side business for income.
Dapto F45 Training gym owner Luke Hanley said he was in disbelief at first when he heard all gyms would have to close but understands the decision.
He said the numbers at the gym halved on Monday with some clients expressing that they would have liked the government to have kept facilities open with restricted numbers and social distancing rules in place.
"I'm worried how the business will survive. The future is so uncertain," Mr Hanley said
"We have to suspend membership fees and I don't have the funds to support the business costs or myself for six months.
"Maybe I'll have to pack selves at a supermarket."
Mr Hanley also had a part-time job working at a restaurant on the weekend, which had also been forced to close.
"We are all in same boat," he said. "We have to ride the wave and wait to see how we come out the other side."
Wollongong's Plus Fitness franchise owner Noel Eaton said he thought he would have had more time to prepare for the closure however predicted it was "on the cards".
"I don't really understand why gyms have to close but hairdressers for example can remain open but there is nothing I can do about it," he said.
"The closure means my two staff members and myself won't have a job or an income for the foreseeable future."
Mr Eaton also wished gyms could stay open on an appointment basis with equipment spaced apart.
He said he had been on the phone on Monday stopping payments and fielding calls from concerned clients.
He thanked members for their support and hope they tried to stay fit and came back ready to train once the gym reopened.
Wollongong City Council has closed Beaton Park and Lakeside Leisure Centres in response to updated advice from the federal and state governments in relation to COVID-19.
All council-run functions within these centres will not be available until further notice. This includes the swimming pool, spa and sauna, squash courts as well as the main hall.
At this time, facilities outside these buildings such as the track at Beaton Park and tennis courts at Lakeside will continue to be available to community members.
People using these facilities will need to adhere to social distancing measures and NSW Health guidelines for health and hygiene.
Existing memberships will be put on hold and visit card time periods will be extended to reflect the length of the closure.
Selected services and programs delivered by external contractors and clubs continue at this time.
These are Little Athletics, Blue Stars Athletics, Kembla Joggers and Athletics Track Coaches at Beaton Park and Lakeside Physiotherapy and Edwards Tennis coaching at Lakeside.
Kiama Leisure Centre and Shellharbour City Stadium have also closed.