Fitness Australia welcomes confirmation of meeting with DHHS and DJPR.

Following last week’s press conference where Premier Andrews announced there was a need to engage with the industry and have a further discussion on the restrictions and COVID-Safe requirements for gyms ahead of re-opening across Metro Melbourne, the fitness industry’s peak association has received confirmation of a meeting next Wednesday.

Fitness Australia CEO Barrie Elvish said the industry was optimistic about mutually engaging with the government to discuss COVID-Safe plans for the industry to ensure it can reopen in viable and safe manner for businesses and members.

Mr Elvish said

“Following months of regular communication to the Victorian Government, Fitness Australia was pleased to hear the Premier announce it important to have an open door and to listen and to find that really difficult balance point between what is viable and what is safe. It was very encouraging and now have a confirmed meeting with the DHHS and Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions next Wednesday.”

“We know successful outcomes come from engaging with the industry and this was echoed by the Premier in his comments last week. Fitness Australia has worked collaboratively with other state and territory governments to put robust COVID-Safe plans in place that have worked – not only in keeping people safe but allowing businesses in our industry to get back track in a viable capacity. The opportunity to now do this with the Victorian Government has given our Victorian members a much-needed boost.”

Mr Elvish said high on the agenda will be the current limits on 20 people per facility, or in some instances a maximum of 10 when there is only one area, as well as the need for marshals in regional areas given these are unrealistic and unviable, ultimately setting businesses up to go under.

Mr Elvish said:

“Based on the current restrictions for reopening we know that 60-70% of Victorian gyms – ones that are under 1,000m2 – the average operating loss will be $20,621.88 per month while these limits are in place. For gyms over 1,000m2 the average operating loss will be $65,161.77 per month.”

“The government should be trying to make it easier for our businesses to resume, get people back to work and the Victorian economy kick started like what is in place for hospitality and retail. We have data that proves this can be done safely within the fitness industry.”

Fitness Australia independent research found 92% of Victorian gym members want to return to the gym as soon as they open but according to Mr Elvish it will be a long time before members can frequent the gym.

Mr Elvish said:

“With these capacity limits in place, it will effectively be impossible for the 900,000 gym members across the state to restart a regular routine the gym. They will essentially have to take a number and wait their turn. From a business perspective this will make it very difficult for gyms to attract new members as the perceived value will be greatly diminished.”

“We have the best interests of Victorians in mind – both from a health and mental wellbeing perspective and also for the thousands of businesses and employees who are eager to get back to work and provide an essential service to our community.”