The Victorian fitness sector misses out on having lockdown restrictions relaxed or lifted. CEO of Fitness Australia, Barrie Elvish asks the Premier why.

Once again on the weekend the Victoria fitness sector was subject to a few disingenuous statements by you when updating the state on the relaxation of certain lockdown restrictions.

As the Premier and leader of the state, Victorians trust you will provide information and make decisions based on fact not propaganda.

This consistent “anti-gym” messaging leads me to conclude it can only be based on ignorance or a deliberate strategy to use the sector as some form of litmus test for “proving” an ongoing extension of draconian lockdown restrictions are justified.

You have once again persisted in maintaining gyms are unsafe and cannot be made safe. This is despite evidence to the contrary in every other Australian state where the sector is safely operating with a range of COVID-Safe protocols.

But Premier, how would you, or your department, know? To date the Victorian Government’s engagement with the fitness sector has been the worst in Australia.

Your recent comments also ignore the most recent data that indicates the hospitality sector has more than five times the number of transmissions as the fitness sector.

In the UK gyms don’t even rate in the top four most affected sectors, which are care homes, workplaces, hospitality and schools.

Are you serious when you claim that because restaurants are commercial enterprises with COVID-Safe plans, cleanliness standards and staff ensuring social distancing they are safer than gyms, personal training or fitness studios?

Let me state the facts, Mr. Premier:

  1. With 1,500 facilities employing 40,000 Victorians and supporting 900,000 members it is safe to say gyms are commercial enterprises
  2. All gyms interstate are operating safely and effectively with COVID-Safe protocols in place
  3. Unlike the hospitality sector, gyms have had hygiene protocols in place for 10 years; not months
  4. In some states COVID-Safe protocols include a dedicated staff member not just ensuring social distancing but also cleaning
  5. Our specific proposals for Victoria made allowance for the provision of temperature checks on entry, masks and gloves for members.

Mr. Premier, why won’t you instruct your officials to review the specific COVID-Safe Plan we submitted to the Deputy CHO on 25 September 2020, at his request?

Mr. Premier, why won’t you instruct your officials to review the proven interstate data that demonstrates the fitness sector can operate in a COVID-Safe manner with an open mind?

Mr. Premier, are you seriously suggesting a café is safer than a supervised yoga studio?

Mr. Premier why won’t you share with the sector, the “evidence” you use to justify your ongoing position?

Mr. Premier, given the lack of transmission in most of regional Victoria, why can’t gyms open now. Let alone when cafes and restaurants can have 40 people inside?

Mr. Premier, when can gyms expect to open in Victoria?

Mr. Premier, when was the last time you visited a gym?

Yours sincerely,

 Barrie Elvish


Fitness Australia