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

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

Fitness Australia has today moved to counter what it refers to as “misinformation, uninformed sources and negative commentary” that it feels is portraying health and fitness facilities as ‘hotspots’ for COVID-19.

Mindful that such commentary is resulting in some people being too scared to exercise at their local gym, Fitness Australia has gathered data from a random sample of NSW fitness facility operators to prove gyms are safe.

Gathered over the two months since gyms reopened from the state’s Coronavirus lockdown, the survey shows more than 6.26 million check-ins across 423 NSW gyms - with no recorded transmission.

Highlighting that the survey proves gyms are safe and the additional hygiene measures facilities are taking to ensure member safety, Fitness Australia Chief Executive, Barrie Elvish stated “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.

“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.

Elvish said despite the additional precautions, hygiene practices and other initiatives many gyms across NSW are enforcing to protect their members and staff, gyms are continually being labelled by commentators as ‘hotspots’ for COVID-19.

A frustrated Elvish added “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.

“However, gyms are still unfairly being categorised as ‘hotspots’ for the spread of COVID-19. It’s inaccurate and is hurting the industry.”

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.

He concluded “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.

“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.”

Images: Cleaning activity at a Fitness First facility (top, courtesy of Fitness First Australia) and Barrie Elvish (below).

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