Fitness Australia is deeply disappointed by the decision made by the NT Health and the NT Transmission Committee to keep Territory gyms closed for a further week.

Once again, fitness facilities have been singled out for increased restrictions despite no data (nationally or internationally) to justify this decision.

Analysis of COVID-19 transmission cases within Australia has identified just 5 confirmed cases of COVID-19 transmission within Australian gyms since the beginning of the pandemic 18 months ago. This low transmission rate has been observed despite an estimated 40 million+ check-ins at Australian fitness facilities over this time, with similar figures being observed overseas.

In comparison, data from other sectors has shown hundreds of confirmed transmission cases spanning almost every state and territory, especially in hospitality where transmission is five times more likely, yet these businesses have been allowed to re-open and begin trading under modified conditions.

Fitness Australia has been lucky enough to work closely with Health Departments and Transition Committees from almost every other state and territory within Australia. These collaborations have led to the development of safe and effective protocols/frameworks for the re-opening of fitness facilities in these regions.

The success of these collaborations has also led to a significant increase in the safety and effectiveness of hygiene protocols employed within these facilities. However, despite multiple requests, NT Health and the Office of the Chief Minister have so far declined to work with Fitness Australia, the peak industry body, to develop a framework specific to NT facilities.

The decision to keep gyms closed will have a significant effect on the livelihoods of hundreds of business owners and employees within the industry. Further, thousands of Territorians will be unable to attend and participate in their regular/preferred forms of exercise for an unnecessarily extended period of time.

This will likely have a negative effect on both the physical and mental wellbeing of more than 35,000 Territorians who attend these facilities regularly.

With the above considered, Fitness Australia is calling upon the Office of the Chief Minister and NT Health to follow the lead of their interstate counterparts and work with us to develop a framework for the safe and effective re-opening of fitness facilities.

Further, and with consideration to the significant financial burden fitness professionals are now facing, we are also calling upon the Chief Minister (in his role as Treasurer) and the Small Business Minister to urgently provide support for the effected businesses and professionals.