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Easing of Western Australia’s Coronavirus restrictions will allow spectators at sport and gyms to reopen
Easing of last weekend's Coronavirus lockdown measures in Perth and the Peel region of Western Australia will allow gyms to reopen and spectators permitted at sporting events.
Despite reports of new Coronavirus cases in quarantine, Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan has announced further easing of restriction as of Saturday 1st May.
With aquatic centres already operating, the easing will permit indoor fitness centres and dance studios reopen - but needing to abide by mask-wearing requirements and the two-square-metre rule, spectators allowed at community sports events.
The major venues easing will allow the AFL western derby at Optus Stadium on Sunday to go ahead.
Some restrictions will remain in place until Saturday 8th May, with masks continuing to be mandatory for indoor public venues, including workplaces and public transport, but will not be required outside if people are able to physically distance.
Fitness Australia emphasises that gyms are safe
Fitness Australia has called on the Western Australian Government to provide its rationale around its decision to keep gyms closed this week, beyond the easing of last weekend's lockdown measures.
Fitness Australia Chief Executive Barrie Elvish said the association has worked extensively with government authorities during the pandemic to ensure the safety of the whole community while allowing gyms to open and provide an essential service for people to look after their health and wellbeing.
Elvish (pictured below) stated "over the past six to 12 months Fitness Australia has been working productively with WA government authorities to put robust COVIDSafe practices and procedures in place to enable fitness facilities to operate safely even when certain restrictions are in place. The lack of transmission demonstrates the efficacy of these actions.”
“It was a bit of a shock and disappointing this week to hear that gyms had been singled out with casinos and nightclubs as facilities that must remain closed longer due to the risk of transmission in these venues.
“Industry data shows there have been more than 4 million check-ins at WA gyms registered with Fitness Australia since first reopening and at no stage has there been any infection or transmission cases.
“For contact sport and even a trip to the nail salon or tattoo parlour to be permitted, it’s hard to understand why gyms – where social distancing, high levels of sanitation and hygiene are being implemented and zero transmission – are not allowed to reopen yet.
“For many people, a trip to the gym, or participation in a group fitness class, helps maintain and manage mental health and overall wellbeing, yet the community is being restricted from using these services due to decisions that are not based on fact, previously agreed to protocols or current data.”
Advising that Fitness Australia wanted to work with the government to ensure they had access to vital industry data to inform key decisions, Elvish noted "as the industry’s peak industry association, we want to work with the government to alleviate any concerns they have around the safety of registered gyms. We have thousands of individual and business members who are able to provide instant data when it comes to check-ins, contact information and tracing.
“This is the same data that has shown us that our members’ gyms across WA are safe.”
With gyms and fitness facilities closed until Saturday, Elvish called on the Western Australian Government to immediately reverse its decision, saying it was unacceptable to be grouped with casinos and nightclubs when there have been zero cases of infection or transmission in a Western Australian gym since they reopened from long lockdowns last year.
Elvish went on to say "we are angry and frustrated to see gyms grouped with casinos and nightclubs.
“Why has the Government not consulted with us as the peak industry association in determining these restrictions? Why are other recreation centres and swimming pools allowed to open but fitness facilities cannot?
“Why is hospitality allowed to open, when across Australia many outbreaks have been caused by infected people visiting a restaurant or café.”
Elvish said since gyms reopened from long lockdowns last year, Fitness Australia registered facilities have been going above and beyond with cleaning and sanitisation to ensure a safe environment for the community to exercise, which makes this decision even harder to understand.
He concluded "the business impact from any lockdown is devastating for business owners. However, this decision is not based on fact or data which is incomprehensible, damaging and wrong.”
“Our member gyms have been going above and beyond our high standards to ensure the community has a safe place to exercise and keep healthy.
“Gyms are not part of the problem and our own Australian visitation to virus transmission data shows that the chance of COVID-19 transmission in a gym is less than one in a million.
"In fact, the chance of being infected in a fitness facility is a meagre 0.00008%. I say again, in WA there have been zero cases.”
23rd March 2021 - City of South Perth moves forward with aquatic facility plans
23rd February 2021 - Fitness Australia’s Barrie Elvish highlights the value of health
4th February 2021 - Western Australian lockdown impacts leading sport leagues
2nd February 2021 - Western Australian regional sports receive funding to increase participation
1st December 2020 - Fitness Australia partners with Latrobe University to launch industry survey
19th October 2020 - Reopened fitness clubs see more than two-thirds of members return
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