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12RND Fitness’ Michael Jordan backs challenge to Victorian Chief Medical Officer’s comments that gyms are ‘high risk’

12RND Fitness’ Michael Jordan backs challenge to Victorian Chief Medical Officer’s comments that gyms are ‘high risk’
September 9, 2020

Backing industry moves to challenge comments made at the weekend by Victorian Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brett Sutton that gyms are "high risk" and “cause outbreaks”, 12RND Fitness Chief Executive Michael Jordan has joined calls for fitness operators to rally together to demand that the Victorian Government re-classify gyms, fitness centres and studios as essential services.

The Victorian Government advised on Sunday that fitness providers such as 12RND Fitness will only be able to reopen in the ‘Last Step’ of the state’s Coronavirus easing ‘roadmap’. With conditions requiring that there be no new cases for 14 days prior to the Last Step’s scheduled commencement, this would mean that exercise facilities would reopen on the 23rd November – a schedule that would see, according to Sutton “individuals continue to go without access to expert support from certain health and fitness professionals for another 10 weeks, in addition to over 150 days of forced closures to date.”

Commenting on the situation, Jordan advised “we understand and acknowledge the efforts of the Victorian Government to implement strategies in the interest of public health and safety, an endeavour that we, as a network of fitness professionals, also share.

“However, to truly address the health and safety of Victorians, we believe that with an appropriate COVIDSafe plan in place, 12RND Fitness clubs, and other fitness providers should be able to open as early as the ‘First Step’, commencing on the 13th of September, under ‘heavily restricted guidelines’.”

Jordan backs Fitness Australia Chief Executive, Barrie Elvish’s recent statement asserting that ‘the classification of health and fitness facilities needs urgent review’, calling on the Victorian Government to reclassify these facilities as ‘Health and Fitness Centres’ in the Restricted Activity Directions and to be allowed to operate in the same way as other essential health services such as osteopathy, physiotherapy, dietetics and mental health services.

Jordan notes “although the current plan incorporates allowances for outdoor activities and independent exercise, we know that our members need more than just the opportunity to exercise; they need guidance, support and structure within their training.

“Many of our members come to us because they have not been able to take control of their health and fitness independently and need our services, and services like ours to remain motivated and to train safely and effectively.

“Further to personal training, facilities such as 12RND Fitness provide a sense of community and belonging, aspects which are known to be vital towards the overall health and wellbeing of all people. We are confident that we can provide the community with a safe environment to stay active to benefit their physical wellbeing as well as their mental health.”

Jordan commends Fitness Australia for having worked extensively with public health officials across the country to offer the industry, what he says is “a robust and comprehensive COVID Operation Guide from which we have based our COVIDSafe plan” adding that “in all states and territories outside of Victoria, this Covid-safe plan has proven to be effective in keeping our community safe.”

Jordan pointed out that “a 12RND Fitness club in Queensland, previously attended by two members who tested positive for COVID-19, linked to a known cluster, resulted in zero cases of community transmission following their workout.

“Throughout the process of contact tracing, Queensland Health were extremely satisfied with our efforts to track member visits using our member management system, and that our cleaning, sanitisation and social distancing practices all met and exceeded Government standards.

“Further to this, Fitness Australia has found that following the NSW fitness industry’s reopening on the 13th June, zero cases of reported community transmission have occurred after more than 7.31 million check-ins across 546 gyms.

“This outstanding evidence demonstrates that individuals can safely attend a fitness facility without community transmission, and that our industry has the capability to adapt to heavily restricted operations.

“We strongly believe that all decisions made surrounding the Government’s roadmap for reopening should be evidence-based and data-driven. As reinforced by Mr Elvish in his response to Professor Jordan’s claims, he states, ‘if you are aware of any contrary data showing gyms ‘cause outbreaks’ please share it with us so that we can make our COVID-safe protocols even more effective’.”

Jordan goes on to state “the successful re-classification of gyms, health clubs, fitness centres and studios as essential services will ensure that thousands of providers throughout Victoria can re-join the economy as operating businesses.

We want to do everything in our power to fight for our members physical and mental wellbeing.

We believe we can do this safely and effectively in our clubs with our proven COVIDSafe plan.

“In line with Fitness Australia we want to demonstrate gyms are low risk environments that should be reopened as soon as possible as an essential service to benefit the health of our communities.

“If you would like to join the fight, sign the below petitions to allow health and fitness providers to become a part of the solution in prioritising the mental wellbeing of Victorians, and allowing our businesses reopen as essential services.”

Click here to view the COVIDSafe Plan for Reopening Gyms Legislative Council E-Petition 

Click here to view the Prioritise Victorian's Mental Wellbeing After Lockdown petition.

For more information on the evidence collected to date, and the basis of reclassification of fitness businesses as essential services, go to the Fitness Australia website at www,fitness.org.au/.

Images:12RND Fitness Chief Executive Michael Jordan (top) and 12RND Fitness clubs (middle and below).

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8th September 2020 - New body to advocate for the reopening of fitness centres in Victoria

7th September 2020 - Victorian Chief Health Officer’s comments ‘devastating’ to gym owners

6th September 2020 - Fitness Australia challenges Victorian Chief Health Officer’s assertion that gyms ‘cause outbreaks’

6th September 2020 - Melbourne’s Stage 4 Coronavirus restrictions extended for two weeks as Chief Health Officer says ‘gyms are a high-risk setting’

3rd September 2020 - Victorian gym owners plan legal ‘class action’ to reopen gyms

1st September 2020 - Independent gym owners urge Victorian Government to allow gyms to re-open when Stage 4 restrictions conclude

31st August 2020 - Fitness and Lifestyle Group advises of redundancies amid restructure

30th August 2020 - Fitness Australia calls for Victorian Government to reclassify health and fitness facilities as an ‘essential service’ 

24th August 2020 - Survey shows Australia gyms outperforming international counterparts

21st August 2020 - Fitness Australia secures support for exercise to be classed as an ‘essential service’ from Victorian shadow sport minister

19th August 2020 - FITREC highlights ‘heartbreaking’ impact of Victoria’s Coronavirus lockdown

14th August 2020 - ISPO identifies health orientation as key fitness trend in post Coronavirus-world

13th August 2020 - Fitness Australia counters ‘misinformation’ that suggests gyms are a hotspot for COVID-19

9th August 2020 - Gym owner calls for online protest over new NSW fitness club regulations

8th August 2020 - Les Mills Asia Pacific invites Victorian instructors and fitness enthusiasts to invest in themselves

5th August 2020 - NSW gyms introduce temperature testing and COVID marshals to reduce member Coronavirus risks

7th April 2020 - Two-thirds of the world’s fitness clubs are currently closed

19th June 2019 - Fast growing boxing and strength training provider 12RND Fitness unleashes the ‘fighter’ within


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