Fitness Australia welcomes Premier’s comments to engage with the industry ahead of 9 November reopening.

Premier Andrews announcement that gyms would finally reopen from midnight 9 November was met with mixed reactions from the Victorian fitness industry, just as new data from Fitness Australia shows the chance of being infected in a fitness facility is a meagre 0.00008%.

Fitness Australia CEO Barrie Elvish said recent member data showed across 1,270 facilities more than 24 million visits had taken place since gyms reopened in other states and territories and during that time only 19 COVID cases had been linked to a fitness facility.

Mr Elvish said:

“Fitness Australia data shows the chance of being infected in a fitness facility in less than 1 in a million, or 0.00008% to be exact. A figure that is statistically insignificant and shows gyms are a safe environment to exercise.”

“We need to focus on the long-term health of all Victorians now as the community starts to venture out and resume a sense of normal life.

“To do that, we need to enable more people access to a gym. The bigger the gym area, the higher the number of permitted people should be, all while still ensuring adherence to social distancing requirements.”

Mr Elvish said Premier Andrews comments today about engaging with the industry were welcomed as the industry looks to work through options to allow more people to exercise within a COVID-Safe environment.

Mr Elvish said:

“We welcome the Premier’s comments today around engaging with the industry on reopening procedures. As the industry’s peak association, we are eager to work collaboratively with the government to show how gyms and other fitness facilities can safely host more than 20 people at one time due to their size and availability of separate spaces or zones.”

“To put it into perspective some of the gyms across metro Melbourne are the size of a small Bunnings and to restrict the number to only 20 per facility, or at little as 10 if there is only one area, at any one time means for many gym owners and operators they will be opening at a loss. Gyms are COVID-Safe and large gyms can safely implement the required social distancing requirements outlined by the government this week.

“In contrast, by 9 November hospitality venues are permitted to have 40 people inside to enjoy a beer, in a space equivalent to an average 2-bedroom apartment but when it comes to resuming exercise for health and wellbeing, the community is once again restricted to a maximum of 20 people in the whole facility, regardless of size or separate spaces. It just doesn’t make sense.”

Fitness Australia has successfully worked with authorities in every other Australian state and territory to implement robust COVID-Safe protocols and frameworks to ensure fitness facilities can operate safely and give people the confidence and peace of mind that their health and safety is a high priority.

Mr Elvish said:

“We know 92% of Victorian gym members want to return to the gym as soon as they reopen. That’s more than 800,000 people who will be trying to access a limited number of spaces at their local gym. The COVID-Safe plans we have successfully implemented in other states and territories focus on strict social distancing and hygiene requirements while allowing for greater numbers when a facility’s area permits that.”

“Let’s not forget either that, unlike any other sector, fitness facilities have the ability in the unlikely event of a member attending gym with COVID, to advise relevant health authorities within an hour of the names and contact details of every other person in the facility at the time and following the visitation period.

“In Victoria, gyms are also happy to ask their members to wear a mask while exercising, a move that is possible in a gym but not so easy in a restaurant when socialising over a meal.”