BOSTON, MA—July 7, 2020—In the continued fight to open health and fitness facilities across the country, IHRSA, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, sent a letter today to all 50 U.S. governors to show that the fitness industry is not part of transmitting COVID-19. To show a united fitness industry, the letter was signed by many industry leaders, representing thousands of gyms, fitness clubs, and studios.
Health and wellness have never been more essential to our country as they are at this very moment. With a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, and the decision by the Arizona governor to—once again—close health clubs in the state, our industry united to send a strong message directly to every state's governor.
The letter has three asks for each governor:
- Consider the scientific evidence that the fitness industry is not the problem when it comes to the spread of the virus.
- Take into account Americans’ mental and physical health.
- Do not shut down gyms and fitness centers that can operate safely.
The letter outlines evidence to show that fitness facilities have not been to blame for the transmission of COVID-19. In a survey consisting of 135 clubs with 3,443,123 total check-ins, fitness industry consultant, Blair McHaney of MXM/Medallia, reports that there were 0.004% of positive cases reported as of June 30.
Contact tracing in some states supports this finding. For example, while Arkansas is experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases, contact tracing from the state government shows less than 0.3% of newly infected individuals visited a gym. Additionally, new research from the University of Oslo found no COVID-19 transmissions associated with fitness centers in a randomized trial of reopened fitness facilities. (As a result, Norway reopened its gyms nationwide.)
Combined, these data points offer clear indications that the safety and sanitation policies implemented at gyms, clubs, and studios that have been allowed to reopen are effective—and that these businesses may pose little to no additional risk for COVID-19 transmission compared to other public places.
The letter also reinforces the value of fitness, our industry's commitment to stringent safety and sanitation protocols, and the mindset of our members to be safe and responsible with their health.
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 U.S. 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.