The news gyms can open up their doors again on June 13 has been described by business owners in the industry as a "bittersweet" moment with challenging times still ahead.
Dallas Rosekelly, founder of Planet Fitness Newcastle, issued a call to arms within the industry last week, lobbying the state and federal governments to reopen gyms after becoming increasingly frustrated with a lack of recognition for what he deems is an essential service in the community.
The NSW government announced yesterday gyms, dance studios and other physical fitness centres in the state will reopen within a fortnight after being closed 10 weeks ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Children's community sport can resume from July 1.
"It's fantastic news and great to see reasonable access to more people for bigger health clubs, but it is a shame it hadn't happened sooner," Mr Rosekelly told the Newcastle Herald on Tuesday.
"It is a shame that we were not deemed as essential as pubs, clubs and poker machines."
Up to 10 people will be allowed in classes and up to 100 people will be permitted inside an indoor venue, such as a gym.
"These numbers are a positive start," Mr Rosekelly said. "I think a square metre-based number of people in classes would have been better for bigger gyms.
"We are working out now with our managers how we will manage these numbers."
Gyms were forced to close their doors on March 23 and Mr Rosekelly said the industry still had plenty of challenges to overcome.
"Our first concern would be the fear that people have, and the misconception that people have that gyms are not safe or healthy to use," he said.
"People in the government spoke about how gyms were dirty, sweaty and at high risk. I disagree with this strongly.
"It will take many months for gyms in general to financially get back on their feet. It's a long, slow road back."
Nerida Bint, who owns female-only gyms Lissome in Carrington and Maitland, said it has been a stressful time for everyone in the industry.
"I'm obviously feeling very relieved at receiving an actual date," Ms Bint said. "It is some hope in amongst a lot of confusion and waiting.
"I'm sure all gym owners in NSW are just as elated. But it's still not a guarantee of back to business as usual. It's months of rebuilding that's required. We are all starting from scratch."
Danielle Rees, owner of Genetics Fitness Club at Warners Bay, also welcomed the news but said a limit of 10 people "makes it hard to run group fitness".
"Group fitness is such a big drawcard in here and we've got massive spaces ... to even have given us 20 in a class would have made it more viable," Ms Rees said.
"We did a timetable based around 20 in a class, so we'll have to go back and look at that. There's a lot to think about in the next couple of days.
"We've taken a massive hit already and the imminent future is going to be challenging. But we have got a start date now and we want to get people back in."
She said shorter class times to allow for additional scheduling of classes and extra cleaning were possible considerations for the interim.