Fitness Industry Contacts State Governors on Safely Reopening

    States across the country are preparing to open their economies. IHRSA and U.S. fitness clubs make the case that health clubs are vital to their community’s health and are prepared for opening as soon as safely possible.

    BOSTON, MA—April 27, 2020—After approximately a month of forced closures, states are slowly but surely opening for businesses.

    To help the more than 40,000 U.S. clubs—employing nearly 800,000 Americans pre-shutdown—open as soon as is safely possible, IHRSA is reaching out to governors across the country. These efforts are putting the health of staff, members, and communities first.

    “We’re reaching out to governors for two important reasons. First, to demonstrate the need for clubs to open as soon as is safely possible. It is vital that state administrators appreciate that health and fitness clubs are integral to the overall health and wellness of their communities,” said Joe Moore, president and CEO of IHRSA. “And, second, it’s important that these state administrators are aware that club operators want—and have prepared—to help establish opening procedures that prioritize health and safety.”

    When reaching out to each state’s governor, IHRSA shared the following rationale for the importance of health clubs to the health of the state:

    • Health and fitness clubs play a central and essential role in the promotion and maintenance of mental, physical, and social health and wellbeing.
    • These local businesses provide safe, supportive environments to improve physical and mental health.
    • Health and fitness clubs—through the promotion of community health and immunity—are an integral part of the solution to returning citizens to a state of good health.
    • Fitness is not only necessary for physical health and immunity. It provides extensive mental health benefits, which are critical in a time when many citizens are experiencing sadness or loneliness.
    • Peer-reviewed studies show that exercise is a natural antidepressant, a viable treatment for depression (in some cases), and has numerous benefits for people with substance use disorders, particularly those who are suffering during this pandemic.

    IHRSA then shared the industry’s commitment to providing safe, supportive places to exercise.

    To help clubs with safety procedures and mitigate risk, IHRSA is gathering and sharing best practices. At present, IHRSA and its member clubs are suggesting a four-pronged approach to safety:

    1. Keeping COVID-19 out of the club by implementing appropriate visitor and staff screenings.
    2. Minimizing the risk of spread through containment and social-distancing measures.
    3. Recognizing everyone’s role in minimizing risk through education and encouraging all members and staff to take all the actions possible to avoid spreading the virus.
    4. Minimizing exposure risk by implementing enhanced, evidence-based cleaning, and sanitation practices.

    “We believe clubs should reopen as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Moore. “Our industry is committed to putting the health and safety of their staff, members, and community first.”

    About IHRSA

    The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) is a not-for-profit trade association representing health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, sports clubs, and suppliers worldwide. IHRSA and its members are dedicated to making the world healthier through regular exercise and activity promotion.

    As the sole association representing the fitness industry, IHRSA protects clubs from legislative and regulatory burdens, promotes the industry's contributions to the health of the nation, and actively supports policies to grow the exercising population.

    In this unprecedented crisis, IHRSA has focused its efforts to help the fitness industry survive and eventually thrive through forced closures and pandemic scares.

    • This page details IHRSA’s current federal lobbying efforts
    • This page explains IHRSA’s first four-weeks of federal lobbying
    • This page lists resources the U.S. and state governments are providing to assist clubs affected by the crisis
    • This page contains the complimentary resources IHRSA is producing to help clubs during this crisis
    Author avatar

    Meredith Poppler

    Meredith Poppler previously served as IHRSA's Vice President of Communications and Leadership Engagement—a position dedicated to growing, promoting, and protecting the industry through media, policy, and advocacy, and raising awareness and support for important policy issues.