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Fitness Australia calls for national consistency in state government gym reopenings
With gyms and other indoor fitness facilities reopened in NSW at the weekend and Victorian fitness clubs to reopening as of next Monday, Fitness Australia is calling on state governments to show consistency and take a national approach to gym reopening guidelines to ensure uniformity for Australia’s 4 million gym users, more than 35,000 exercise professionals and thousands of support staff.
Victorian will be the last state to allow gyms to reopen as of next week, with the Victorian Government’s latest guidelines for sport and exercise, allowing - from 11:59pm on 21st June, indoor physical recreation venues, including gyms – to open with up to 20 people allowed per space, subject to the four square metre rule.
Additional requirements advise that participants must remain at least 1.5 metres apart and that gyms must:
• Have multiple separate ‘zones’ within large indoor spaces
• Ensure each zone is for the exclusive use of up to 20 people if participating in individual activity
• Ensure each zone is no less than 200 metres squared
• Cap class sizes at 10 people excluding instructors per separate zone, subject to 4 metre² per person
• Have measures in place to manage the movement of people through communal areas, such as change rooms, for example staggered class or session times.
Acknowledging that it was positive to see the Victorian Government’s guidelines allow for movement between zone, Fitness Australia Chief Executive, Barrie Elvish today called for an increase in the cap on class sizes and the square meterage per person.
Elvish stated “Victorian gyms are the last to reopen next week and while it is positive to see an approach that allows for gym users to move between zones, we are calling on the Victorian Government to allow gyms to operate classes with at least 20 people, plus instructors instead of the current ten people.
“We are also asking them to reduce the current 10 metre² per person to align with the 7 metre² in Queensland or the 4 metre² rolled out on the weekend in NSW.
“In other venues, such as restaurants and bars up to 50 people can mingle together, yet in a controlled environment such as a fitness class you can only have 10 people? As an industry, we have worked tirelessly with our members to put robust health and hygiene protocols in place to ensure the safety of all gym users.
“Gyms in other states have successfully reopened in line with their relevant government restrictions and to date no community transfer cases have been reported.”
Elvish said with COVID-19 cases across Australia being significantly low and no community transmission reported, governments needed to take a consistent approach to gym and fitness facility restrictions across the board.
He added “there needs to be a point where all governments align with restrictions they are imposing – whether that be the fitness industry or any other. At the moment there are multiple sets of guidelines or protocols that vary from state to state.
“With COVID-19 cases low, community transmission low and a robust industry framework in place Fitness Australia believes all states should adopt a consistent approach that sees them align nationally.”
In additional to state-based government guidelines, Fitness Australia has developed a Framework for Operations in the Fitness Industry Under COVID-19 Restrictions is available to all businesses within the industry, while the Checklist is exclusively available to Fitness Australia members.
Fitness Australia members who complete the Checklist will have the opportunity to download and display COVID Safety Plan In Place branded assets to show they are adhering to strict industry reopening standards.
The Fitness Australia COVID Safety Plan framework is available at fitness.org.au/covidsafetyplan
Image courtesy of Technogym.
10th June 2020 - Fitness Australia releases new industry code of ethics
4th June 2020 - Fitness First Australia announces reopening of all clubs
7th April 2020 - Two-thirds of the world’s fitness clubs are currently closed
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