A third wave of COVID-19 is currently hitting Europe, North America, and much of South America. The United States is surpassing 100,000 new cases per day, and most of Europe is under strict stay-at-home advisories.
As the potential for new or more intensive restrictions looms, there are eight steps clubs can take to advocate for themselves and the industry to stay open—or reopen as soon as possible.
- Identify Key Decision Makers and Their Scope
- Gather Compelling Research Demonstrating Clubs Are Lower Risk Environments
- Stay on Top of the Latest Evidence and Make Sure it’s Accurate
- Determine the Best Vehicle and Strategy to Get Your Message Heard
- Don’t Tell—Show—That Clubs Are Safe
- Decide the Protocols You Will Implement to Keep Your Club Open
- Start Reaching Out to Local Health Authorities Now—Don't Assume Outreach is Hopeless
- Support Industry Efforts for Government Relief
1. Identify Key Decision Makers and Their Scope
Public officials can send mixed signals regarding who has the legal authority to shut down businesses for public health reasons. In an April press conference, President Trump said that health clubs are vital to the U.S. and should be included in Phase 1 of reopening. Unfortunately, unlike other countries where the national government holds the power to open and close clubs, in the U.S., these decisions fell to the state level.
Within each state, decision-making power may be made solely by the governor, a commission, or the head of the department of public health. Additionally, individual counties or municipalities can enact their own restrictions. In many other countries, the national government holds the power to make these decisions.
Some public officials recognize that another round of mass closures could destroy the economy, harm employees, and destroy businesses, so they are trying more targeted restrictions and closings.
In California, the county governments have exercised a lot of the decision-making power, leaving Los Angeles County closed while many other counties were open. In large metropolitan areas, city officials may make different decisions than the state, including what basis they will use to make an opening or reopening decision.
The Colorado Fitness Alliance (CFA) knew that the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) would be the ultimate decision-maker and base the decision on scientific evidence. This enabled them to advocate for themselves using the most compelling data and arguments, resulting in their ability to remain open.
Knowing what kind of information to provide isn't always enough. You need to figure out who is the best person to deliver it. After months and months of providing scientific evidence, New Jersey operators determined that good evidence alone wasn't enough. They needed medical professionals to deliver the evidence to lawmakers.