With the Victorian Government set to announce a road map for the state’s lockdown recovery later this week, the fitness industry is calling for the community to show their support for health and fitness facilities including personal training to be reclassified as an essential service ahead of Stage 3 restrictions, to help Victorians look after their mental and physical health and wellbeing.
The fitness industry’s peak organisation, Fitness Australia, has put its support behind a COVID-Safe Plan for Reopening Gyms Legislative Council E-Petition, which has already attracted more than 8,282 signatures ahead of its closing date of 10 September 2020, to advocate for the reclassification of gyms due to the vital role they play in managing mental health and wellbeing of the community.
According to Fitness Australia CEO Barrie Elvish, gyms, health clubs, fitness centres and studios such as Yoga, Pilates and Barre should be an essential service.
Mr Elvish said:
“The classification of health and fitness facilities needs urgent review and we are calling on the Victorian Government to make this change ahead of their road map announcement later this week. The fitness industry plays a vital role and we must be allowed to operate in the same way as other essential health services such as Osteopathy, Physiotherapy, Dietetics and Mental Health Services.”
“For many people in our community, especially those managing a range of physical and mental health issues, going to the gym, completing regular sessions with a Personal Trainer or participating in a live or virtual class are seen as an essential support service. Yet under the current classification, the industry is restricted from providing this vital support service.”
Mr Elvish said gyms can be a safe environment when a robust COVID Safe Plan, such as the Fitness Australia COVID Operational Guide for the fitness industry, was in place and enforced.
“Fitness Australia has worked extensively with the industry and health officials across Australia to develop a COVID-Safe Plan for the reopening of gyms. We successfully implemented this with the Queensland Government, which allowed people to safely return to the gym earlier than originally planned, Mr Elvish said.
“We are urging the Victorian Government to work with Fitness Australia to promote the overall health and safety of the community, not just when it comes to protecting them during a pandemic, by developing a COVID-Safe Plan that will allow the industry to reopen in Stage 3.
“Health and fitness centres are low risk when it comes to COVID-19 and the industry is willing to do whatever it takes to provide a safety and hygienic environment for members and employees.”
Mr Elvish said recent data from a random sample of NSW operators proved gyms are safe and not a high-risk place of transmission.
Mr Elvish said:
“Recent Fitness Australia research found there was more than 7.31 million check-ins across 546 gyms in the first eight weeks after they reopened in NSW on 13 June. During that same period there had been zero cases of reported community transmission in a gym.”
The Fitness Australia data was validated by electronic swipes, used by all members for access, which also provides for sophisticated contact tracing should it be required.
In addition to the Victorian Legislative Council E-Petition, members of the health and fitness community are also calling on support via a Change.org Petition:
COVID-SAFE Plan for Reopening Gyms Legislative Council E-Petition parliament.vic.gov.au/council/petitions/electronic-petitions/view-e-petitions/details/12/217?fbclid=IwAR3RGRqjYR5Yzxbvf4K86exRo6PjzhQzT6v8WSjzqFi63uajvQAeCGIAjyk
Prioritise Victorian’s Mental Wellbeing After Lockdown change.org/p/victorian-state-government-prioritise-mental-wellbeing-after-lockdown