Fitness Industry Roundup: Experts & Lawmakers Rally for Gyms

Medical and public health experts speak on the critical need to keep gyms open. Lawmakers loosen restrictions on health and fitness clubs.

From the start of the pandemic, lawmakers depicted health clubs in a negative light and the public’s perception of clubs turned dismissive. Since then, the health and fitness industry has been fiercely advocating to:

  • receive economic relief,
  • mark health and fitness clubs as vital, and
  • keep health clubs and gyms open.

It hasn’t been an easy road, but it seems the industry’s hard work may be paying off. With the continuous spike in COVID-19 cases comes stricter guidelines, mandated closures, and even stay-at-home orders. Thankfully, this time around, lawmakers and public health experts are relying on the data and noticing that health and fitness clubs are not the high-risk locations they had previously tagged them as.

Cuomo: Gym Restrictions Are Working

For months, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has shuttered and condemned gyms.WSYR-TV reports in Cuomo’s second briefing via Zoom he announced gyms in the Orange Zone can operate at 25% capacity. In the briefing, Cuomo stated, “Gyms and salons are not major spreaders, we have so many protocols on them.” The governor reported that while gyms account for a miniscule 0.06% of the state’s current COVID-19 cases, a whopping 74% trace back to households or small gatherings.

Check out everything Gov. Cuomo had to say in his briefing.

New Jersey Freeholder Director Applauds Gym’s Safety Guidelines

In a recent press release, shared on InsiderNJ, Monmouth County, NJ, freeholder director, Thomas A. Arnone, praised the safety guidelines and mitigation put in place by a local health and fitness club. Arnone visited The Atlantic Club, an IHRSA member located in Manasquan, NJ, and said he commends their efforts. He stated, “These fitness centers are strictly following CDC guidelines and implementing enhanced safety protocols in order for members to maintain social distance and reduce risk of any virus transmission while exercising.” Arnone is “thrilled” these clubs can operate safely indoors as the weather turns cold and also notes “healthcare facilities are essential to their members’ wellbeing.”

Read the press release.

Gyms Left Off Doctor’s List of COVID-19 High-risk Locations

As reported in Yahoo Life, health and fitness clubs are not among the list of COVID-19 high-risk locations, according to CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta, M.D. He says five primary public locations are responsible for 80% of viral transmissions, including:

  1. Restaurants
  2. Bars
  3. Cafes
  4. Hotels
  5. Houses of worship

Moreover, Gupta said he does not believe stay-at-home orders are necessary if we focus on these five locations. He said, “Much of society can still stay open and still function as long as people wear masks and things like that, it doesn't need to go into a complete lockdown."

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Learn more about what Gupta said about these locations.

Former U.S. Deputy Surgeon General Calls to Keep Clubs Open

Kenneth P. Moritsugu, M.D., MPH, a former acting U.S. surgeon general and deputy surgeon general, published another op-ed in favor of keeping health and fitness clubs in the U.S. open. The article, featured in The Dallas Morning News, details the critical service clubs provide for their members—maintaining overall health and wellness. In short, Moritsugu said, “As we look for ways to improve our nation’s health, policymakers should work with fitness centers to ensure COVID-19 transmission-mitigation efforts are in place so that these facilities can remain open and available.”

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Read the story for all of Moritsugu’s reasons why lawmakers should keep gyms open.

Gym Offers Classes to Support Those in Recovery

CrossFit Low Oxygen in Frisco, CO, recently began offering Fit To Recover classes every Saturday, specifically designed for those in recovery and anyone who is supporting someone in recovery, as reported in Morning Chalk Up. Fit To Recover, based in Salt Lake City, UT, started as a group of friends supporting one another in their recovery journey and officially scaled to a business in 2015. For the new Low Oxygen owners, Jared and Taneil Dennis, the program hits close to home and was a no-brainer as an addition to their club. The Dennises said, “CrossFit is just as much about working out as it is about community. In these community environments people have accomplished amazing things.” Low Oxygen is Fit To Recover’s first outside affiliate—and hopefully is just the beginning of further expansion.

Find out more about CrossFit Low Oxygen’s Fit To Recover program.

Author avatar

Sami Smith

Sami Smith is IHRSA's Senior Manager of Digital Communications, working to shape the organization's image on various digital platforms. On a typical day, she creates content, delivers impactful communications, and executes targeted marketing efforts to keep IHRSA at the forefront of the industry. Outside of the office, you can find her exploring new destinations, indulging in food, or participating in just about any sport.