With COVID-19 restrictions set to be eased over coming weeks, the fitness industry is ready with a robust re-opening framework developed to ensure gyms and exercise facilities can be among the first to reopen while ensuring the health and safety of members and employees.
Since gyms closed a month ago, Fitness Australia, the industry’s peak body, has been working with government authorities, industry stakeholders and international counterparts, including UK Active, IHRSA, Exercise NZ and the World Health Organisation, to develop a comprehensive framework for the safe reopening of gyms.
Fitness Australia CEO Barrie Elvish said the industry is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of everyone so gyms can reopen sooner rather than later as reported.
“The fitness industry, like all Australians, want to ensure there is no further spread of COVID-19 as restrictions are slowly eased back. However, there’s no reason why gyms can’t be one of the first sectors to reopen,” Mr Elvish said.
“We believe gyms can safely reopen with social distancing and hygiene requirements in place, which is why we have prepared a strict reopening framework for all fitness facilities and personal trainers.
“Our framework includes a range of guidelines from temperature checking on arrival, high frequency cleaning and sanitation, spacing of equipment through to PPE for employees and members, reduced capacity for classes and outdoor fitness considerations.
“Unlike other establishments such as bars, restaurants and retail outlets, gyms also have a key advantage when it comes to instant contact tracking, with all members having to swipe in and out or book in for a class. Should it be necessary, no other industry has the ability to provide to health authorities this real time data.
“The industry is committed and onboard to do whatever is needed to reopen. We all want to ensure gym members and employees have the peace of mind to safely return to the gym, do a workout or take part in a group glass.”
Mr Elvish said the role exercise plays in our overall health and mental wellbeing cannot be underestimated and it will become more apparent as restrictions are eased back.
“Gyms and the broader fitness industry will have a vital role in ensuring the ongoing health and wellbeing of Australians during and following COVID-19,” Mr Elvish said.
“During the important phase of isolation, there has been a drastic increase in demand for mental health services such as Lifeline and Beyond Blue as well as a steep increase in alcohol consumption and online gambling.
“This coupled with people being less active has the potential to not only affect the long-term health of our whole community but also future Health Budget outlays.
“Exercise and a regular fitness routine play a very important role in maintaining an individual’s immune system and their overall physical and mental health.”