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Fitness Australia’s Barrie Elvish to meet with Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer to urge gym reopening

Fitness Australia’s Barrie Elvish to meet with Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer to urge gym reopening
September 21, 2020

With the Victorian Government having insisted that gyms stay closed under the state’s Coronavirus lockdown measures, and Fitness Australia and the new VIC Active group advocating for their reopening, a glimmer of hope has emerged for industry operators.

As reported by the Herald Sun, Victorian Business Support and Recovery Minister Martin Pakula has facilitated a meeting between Fitness Australia Chief Executive Barrie Elvish (pictured below) and Victorian Deputy Chief Health Officer Professor Allen Cheng that will occur this week.

The Greater Dandenong Leader has reported that Minister Pakula said at a meeting last week that the regional roadmap indicated gyms could open in Step 3 under “heavily restricted” conditions, which were still to be determined.

Amid considerable confusion over when gyms in regional Victoria can reopen, Minister Pakula’s comments have raised hope in the industry.

On Friday, Minister Pakula was reported to have said “ultimately, the public health advice defined heavily restricted in Step 3 for regional Victoria as outdoor operations only.

“The Premier has made it clear that Level 3 restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne may not necessarily be the same as those that apply currently to regional Victoria - this will depend on our level of success in reducing the rate of infection in the community.

“We will continue to consult with the industry and have facilitated a meeting between Mr Elvish and Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng for next week.”

With by Victorian Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brett Sutton having earlier this month said that gyms are "high risk" and “cause outbreaks”, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Friday said he couldn’t reference “any specific cases” of outbreaks at gyms in Australia.

Confusion has existed since Fitness Australia cited Victorian Government advice on 10th September that gyms would reopen on 26th October, to be followed last week by a Victorian Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman saying reopening would not be allowed until 23rd November.

The spokeswoman told the Greater Dandenong Leader “under both the regional Victoria and the metropolitan Melbourne road maps, indoor gyms are scheduled to reopen in the Last Step

Looking forward to the meeting with Professor Cheng, Elvish advised “there’s a lot of mixed messages going on at the moment. We’ve been working towards an opening date of October 26.

“There are more than 900,000 Victorians with gym memberships. They need to be able to exercise, get that balance back into their system and look after their wellbeing.”

Elvish added that the Victorian Government should also ease restrictions on outdoor exercise, adding “they are now allowing two people to go outside, but why can’t one of them be a personal trainer with their client?

“They also need to allow gyms to do online filming of their training while people are locked up in their homes as if it’s not done under some sort of guidance or supervision people are going to hurt themselves.”

Main image courtesy of Genesis Ballarat.

Related Articles

18th September 2020 - Operator questions Fitness Australia’s 26th October reopening claim for Victorian gyms

16th September 2020 - Victoria’s aquatic industry leaders call for clarity

15th September 2020 - Fitness industry disappointed gyms in regional Victoria cannot reopen under this week’s Coronavirus easing

14th September 2020 - Fitness Australia calls for one-on-one training to be allowed under Victoria’s new outdoor exercise restrictions

14th September 2020 - VIC Active considers Government’s mental health support package to be tokenistic

14th September 2020 - 15 new COVID-19 mental health clinics open in Victoria

11th September 2020 - VIC Active claims government’s proposal for outdoor training is impractical

10th September 2020 - Fitness Australia confirms Melbourne gyms to reopen from 26th October

10th September 2020 - FITREC delivers Code of Practice for outdoor fitness training in public spaces

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

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

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


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