Gyms are not a hotspot for COVID-19: Industry challenges recent commentary
More than 6.26 million check-ins across 423 NSW gyms in 2 months and no recorded transmission
The health and wellbeing of the community has never been more important than now, but according to the industry’s peak body Fitness Australia, misinformation, uninformed sources and negative commentary is portraying health and fitness facilities as “hotspots” for COVID-19 resulting in some people being too scared to exercise at their local gym.
Fitness Australia CEO Barrie Elvish said Fitness Australia has gathered data from a random sample of NSW operators to prove gyms are safe and challenge recent “hotspot” commentary.
“These additional practices, that the industry is doing off their own back, are working – to prove that we’ve gathered data from across the state that shows there have been more than 6.26 million check-ins across 423 gyms since they reopened in NSW on 13 June. During that same period there have been zero cases of reported community transmission in a gym,” Mr Elvish said.
“The same cannot be said for restaurants or bars in NSW where cluster cases have started and spread. However, gyms are still being categorised with these and other entertainment venues and cast in a negative light.”
The Fitness Australia data has been validated by electronic swipes, used by all members for access, which also provides for sophisticated contact tracing should it be required.
Mr Elvish said despite the additional precautions, hygiene practices and other initiatives many gyms across New South Wales are enforcing to protect their members and staff, gyms are continually being labelled by commentators as “hotspots” for COVID-19.
“While we acknowledge there has been 13 reported cases where a member has visited the gym while infected, Health authorities have not specifically identified any cases of transmission in a gym. Our industry knows how important it is to keep members and staff safe while using the gym, which is why owners and operators all over the state are going above what is required by law and putting additional health and safety practices in place,” Mr Elvish said.
“However, gyms are still unfairly being categorised as “hotspots” for the spread of COVID-19. It’s inaccurate and is hurting the industry.”
Mr Elvish said gyms and personal trainers played a very important role in helping people maintain their mental health, strengthen their immune function, and overall wellbeing and called on governments to engage the industry positively rather than label it negatively.
“Since the beginning of COVID-19, Fitness Australia has been focused on promoting the important role the fitness industry plays in the overall health of our nation,” Mr Elvish said.
“We are not part of the problem; we are actually part of the solution to getting more Australians more active more often and help prevent long-term lifestyle-related disease.”
“Rather than referencing sources who incorrectly label gyms a “hotspot”, we are urging the government to work with Fitness Australia, and the industry, to ensure the health and safety of the community, surely an essential outcome, remains a priority – now and in the future.”