In the midst of ongoing uncertainty about the COVID-19 crisis, let’s look at some good news for the health club industry. A landmark study
appeared out of Norway that showed that health clubs are not an environment that present an elevated risk of exposure to the virus compared to other public locations.
According to IHRSA’s report on the study: “While more research is needed, this study provides some evidence that the social distancing and other COVID-19 mitigation policies implemented at fitness centers that have been allowed to open are effective. Thus, gyms may pose little to no additional risk for COVID-19 transmission compared to other public places.”
Other data reported by IHRSA indicates that gymgoers are eager to return to health clubs. According to research from MXM, in a survey of 150,000 members, “65.7% indicated that they would likely rejoin their health & fitness facility.” Other countries cite similar responses in surveys, with, for example, 66% of health club consumers in Poland and 88% of clubgoers in Spain saying that they plan to return to gyms after the all-clear from authorities.
With gyms reopening around the country, it’s important for health club operators to maintain a consistent and calming message to their members. Until a vaccine emerges, spikes in COVID-19 outbreaks will appear from time to time in certain regions. But even with so much uncertainty on a wider scale, club owners control their own environment, and they must convince the public that they’re doing what’s necessary to keep them safe.
You also need to keep your employees as safe as possible. A strong argument can be made that health club staff are essential employees who help provide a necessary service to the public. Research has shown that exercise may help prevent deadly complications from COVID-19, according to the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Clearly part of the mission for today’s health club owner is to ensure the safety of these valuable staff members, maintenance workers, personal trainers, and coaches who help keep people healthy and safe.