A statement from our CEO, Michael Jordan
Join the Fight as we support Fitness Australia in challenging comments made by the Victorian Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brett Sutton that gyms are “high risk” and “cause outbreaks”; and rally together to re-classify gyms, health clubs, fitness centres and studios as essential services.
Over the weekend, Victorian Premier, Dan Andrews has provided further guidance on their state’s roadmap, revealing that fitness providers such as 12RND Fitness will only be able to reopen in the “Last Step” of the plan. Provided that there are no new cases for 14 days prior to the step’s scheduled commencement, this would mean that exercise facilities would reopen on the 23rd of November. Therefore, individuals will continue to go without access to expert support from certain health and fitness professionals for another 10 weeks, in addition to over 150 days of forced closures to date.
We understand and acknowledge the efforts of the Victorian government to implement strategies in the interest of public health and safety, an endeavour that we, as a network of fitness professionals, also share. However, to truly address the health and safety of Victorians, we believe that with an appropriate Covid-Safe plan in place, 12RND Fitness clubs, and other fitness providers should be able to open as early as the “First Step”, commencing on the 13th of September, under “heavily restricted guidelines”.
In a recent statement, Fitness Australia Chief Executive, Barrie Elvish asserts that, “the classification of health and fitness facilities needs urgent review,” and is, “calling on the Victorian Government to reclassify them as ‘Health and Fitness Centres’ in the Restricted Activity Directions and be allowed to operate in the same way as other essential health services such as osteopathy, physiotherapy, dietetics and mental health services.”
Although the current plan incorporates allowances for outdoor activities and independent exercise, we know that our members need more than just the opportunity to exercise; they need guidance, support and structure within their training. Many of our members come to us because they have not been able to take control of their health and fitness independently and need our services, and services like ours to remain motivated and to train safely and effectively.
Further to Personal Training, facilities such as 12RND Fitness provide a sense of community and belonging, aspects which are known to be vital towards the overall health and wellbeing of all people. We are confident that we can provide the community with a safe environment to stay active to benefit their physical wellbeing as well as their mental health.
Fitness Australia have worked extensively with health officials across the country to offer the industry a robust and comprehensive COVID Operation Guide from which we have based our Covid-safe plan. In all states and territories outside of Victoria, this Covid-safe plan has proven to be effective in keeping our community safe.
A 12RND Fitness club in QLD, previously attended by two members who tested positive for Covid-19, linked to a known cluster, resulted in 0 cases of community transmission following their workout. Throughout the process of contact tracing, QLD Health were extremely satisfied with our efforts to track member visits using our member management system, and that our cleaning, sanitisation and social distancing practices all met and exceeded Government standards.
Further to this, Fitness Australia has found that following the New South Wales fitness industry’s reopening on the 13th of June, 0 cases of reported community transmission have occurred after more than 7.31 million check-ins across 546 gyms.
This outstanding evidence demonstrates that individuals can safely attend a fitness facility without community transmission, and that our industry has the capability to adapt to heavily restricted operations.
We strongly believe that all decisions made surrounding the Government’s roadmap for reopening should be evidence-based and data-driven. As reinforced by Mr Elvish in his response to Professor Sutton’s claims, he states, “if you are aware of any contrary data showing gyms “cause outbreaks” please share it with us so that we can make our COVID-safe protocols even more effective.”
The successful re-classification of gyms, health clubs, fitness centres and studios as essential services will ensure that thousands of providers throughout Victoria can re-join the economy as operating businesses.
We want to do everything in our power to fight for our members physical and mental wellbeing.
We believe we can do this safely and effectively in our clubs with our proven Covid-Safe plan.
In line with Fitness Australia we want to demonstrate gyms are low risk environments that should be reopened as soon as possible as an essential service to benefit the health of our communities.
If you would like to join the fight, sign the below petitions to allow health and fitness providers to become a part of the solution in prioritising the mental wellbeing of Victorians, and allowing our businesses to reopen as essential services.
COVID-SAFE Plan for Reopening Gyms Legislative Council E-Petition https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/council/petitions/electronic-petitions/view-e-petitions/details/12/217?fbclid=IwAR3RGRqjYR5Yzxbvf4K86exRo6PjzhQzT6v8WSjzqFi63uajvQAeCGIAjyk
Prioritise Victorian’s Mental Wellbeing After Lockdown
For more information on the evidence collected to date, and the basis of reclassification of fitness businesses as essential services, we encourage you to visit the Fitness Australia website, https://fitness.org.au/.