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Fitness Australia insists that gyms be one of the FIRST to be reopened

Fitness Australia has said gyms across the country are willing to reopen now with a strict safety and hygiene plan, despite industry experts predicting the centers are likely to remain closed until spring.

From March 23 noon on March 23, the federal government closed gyms along with movie theaters, nightclubs, churches, and pubs, clubs, and hotels to slow the spread of the corona virus.

With the threat of a slowing pandemic, Fitness Australia CEO Barrie Elvish, who heads the industry’s highest organ, said they are willing to “do anything” to resume the operation sooner rather than later.

He said that in the past month, they have partnered with government agencies, industry stakeholders and international counterparts, including UK Active, IHRSA, Exercise NZ and the World Health Organization, to develop a comprehensive framework for the safe reopening of gyms.

The fitness industry, like all Australians, wants to ensure that COVID-19 is not spread further as restrictions are slowly being rolled back. However, there is no reason why gyms cannot be reopened as one of the first sectors, ‘Elvish said in a press statement.

Gymnast Rachel Dillon and her boyfriend traded in their usual gym gear for home workouts (pictured before the pandemic started)

Gymnast Rachel Dillon and her boyfriend traded in their usual gym gear for home workouts (pictured before the pandemic started)

“We believe gyms can be safely reopened with social distance and hygiene requirements, which is why we have established a strict reopening framework for all fitness facilities and personal trainers.”

The framework includes checking the temperature of customers on arrival, high-frequency cleaning and sanitation, distance from equipment, personal protective equipment for workers and members and reduced capacity for lessons.

“Unlike other institutions such as bars, restaurants and shops, gyms also have a significant advantage when it comes to direct contact tracking, requiring all members to check in and out or book for a class,” said Elvish.

“If necessary, no other industry has the ability to provide health authorities with this real-time data.”

Mr Elvish said that the role exercise plays in our overall health and mental well-being cannot be underestimated and will become clearer as the limitations are reduced.

Mr. Elvish said that the role exercise plays in our overall health and mental well-being cannot be underestimated and will become more apparent as the limitations are eased

Mr. Elvish said that the role exercise plays in our overall health and mental well-being cannot be underestimated and will become more apparent as the limitations are eased

Mr. Elvish said that the role exercise plays in our overall health and mental well-being cannot be underestimated and will become more apparent as the limitations are eased

“Gyms and the wider fitness industry will play a critical role in ensuring the continued health and well-being of Australians during and after COVID-19,” he said.

Fitness Australia CEO Barrie Elvish

Fitness Australia CEO Barrie Elvish

Fitness Australia CEO Barrie Elvish

During the important isolation phase, there has been a dramatic increase in demand for mental health services such as Lifeline and Beyond Blue, as well as a sharp increase in alcohol consumption and online gambling.

“This, combined with people who are less active, can impact not only the long-term health of our entire community, but also future health budget expenditures.

“Exercise and a regular fitness routine play a very important role in maintaining a person’s immune system and their overall physical and mental health.”

But many in the industry question whether gyms are the first to reopen, as restrictions will disappear in the coming weeks and months.

Pictured: A Willoughby council employee places a hazard tape on outdoor exercise equipment on Gore Hill on March 30 in Sydney

Pictured: A Willoughby council employee places a hazard tape on outdoor exercise equipment on Gore Hill on March 30 in Sydney

Pictured: A Willoughby council employee places a hazard tape on outdoor exercise equipment on Gore Hill on March 30 in Sydney

Pictured: Gym junkies get their last session on March 23 before the government closes gyms across the country in the afternoon

Pictured: Gym junkies get their last session on March 23 before the government closes gyms across the country in the afternoon

Pictured: Gym junkies get their last session on March 23 before the government closes gyms across the country in the afternoon

Fitness Playground CEO Justin Ashley, who runs four successful gyms in Sydney, told Daily Mail Australia that they are hopeful that the doors will open sooner than later and that they are very much state-owned.

“The safety of our members and employees is paramount,” he said.

“We know that it is not immediately business as usual. However, if gyms could open even with limited capacity, it would be a positive step for both industry and the health and fitness of our community as a whole.

“While we look forward to running our gyms again in the future, we will continue to support our community and members online through The Virtual Playground during this time.”

The Virtual Playground is an online extension of The Fitness Playground network of gyms.

A personal trainer at Snap Fitness said that while “missing” the gym, it would be nearly impossible to exercise remotely.

“Social distance would be nearly impossible in a 24-hour gym, but we could remodel so that there is no 24-hour access for a period of time.

“Implement that, then we could definitely apply strict cleaning – we’ve already done that – and limit the numbers in the gym at any time.”

The personal trainer added that he had ‘no immediate concerns’ about contracting coronavirus when his gym reopened.

“However, I think there would be mandatory things that would greatly change our job,” he said.

Fitness Playground CEO Justin Ashley, who runs four successful gyms in Sydney, says they are hopeful that the doors will open sooner rather than later - but admits they are heavily owned by the state government

Fitness Playground CEO Justin Ashley, who runs four successful gyms in Sydney, says they are hopeful that the doors will open sooner rather than later - but admits they are highly owned by the state government

Fitness Playground CEO Justin Ashley, who runs four successful gyms in Sydney, says they are hopeful that the doors will open sooner rather than later – but admits they are highly owned by the state government

From March 23 noon to March 23, the federal government closed the gyms along with movie theaters, nightclubs, places of worship, and licensed buildings in hotels and clubs to slow the spread of the corona virus

The federal government closed gyms from March 23 noon to March 23 along with movie theaters, night clubs, places of worship, and licensed buildings in hotels and clubs to slow the spread of the coronavirus

From March 23 noon to March 23, the federal government closed the gyms along with movie theaters, nightclubs, places of worship, and licensed buildings in hotels and clubs to slow the spread of the corona virus

Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control President Professor Phil Russo said opening gyms would be “quite challenging” because of their operation in confined spaces.

“I think gyms will be quite challenging when it comes to reversing these decisions,” he told Daily Mail Australia.

“Purely because they bring together a large number of people in small spaces.”

Prof Russo said there is “concern” that people who work out in gyms are more likely to cough during exercise.

WHAT WILL GO TO THE GYM AFTER COVID-19

Experts don’t expect gyms to open in Australia until the end of winter, and they assume they will be forced to follow strict social distance rules.

This could include placing machines around a site to ensure members stay at least 1.5 meters from other gym junkies and to limit how many people can enter at a time.

Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control President Professor Phil Russo suggested there would be a “phased rollout.”

“It could start with an aerobics class that once had 40 people, it would start with 10 in it,” he said.

Exercise bikes could be spaced at least 1.5 meters apart and gym classes could take less time, he added.

Prof Russo said that the gradual easing of the restrictions should be analyzed over a period of several weeks to ensure that they do not contribute to a further COVID-19 outbreak.

“Those things would be well planned and introduced gradually,” he said. “You want to make sure it doesn’t cause further spread.”

In addition, gyms may need to change their cleaning regimen by cleaning equipment more often.

Peter Collignon, professor of microbiology at Australian National University, agreed that a phased rollout would likely take place.

‘[It would be] A gradual thing that requires respecting physical distance rules for a while and hand hygiene, ”he said.

People with breathing problems should also not use gyms, he added.

But the main concern of keeping gyms closed is people gathering in an indoor area and sharing equipment, he said.

“COVID-19 is spread from person to person to come into contact with contaminated surfaces,” explained Prof. Russo.

Prof Russo said there would be a ‘phased rollout’ when the gyms eventually open.

“It could start with an aerobics class that once had 40 people, it would start with 10 in it,” he said.

Exercise bikes could be spaced at least 1.5 meters apart and gym classes could take less time, he added.

Peter Collignon, a professor of microbiology at Australian National University, said it would be “very difficult” for gyms to open their doors in the coming months. Pictured: Outdoor sportswear is shot in Sydney

When the gyms finally opened, Prof. Collignon said they would not immediately return to normal operation. '[It would be ] A gradual thing that requires respecting physical distance rules for a while and hand hygiene, ”he said

When the gyms finally opened, Prof. Collignon said they would not immediately return to normal operation. '[It would be ] A gradual thing that requires respecting physical distance rules for a while and hand hygiene, ”he said

When the gyms finally opened, Prof. Collignon said they would not immediately return to normal operation. ‘[It would be ] A gradual thing that requires respecting physical distance rules for a while and hand hygiene, ”he said

Prof Russo said that the gradual easing of the restrictions should be analyzed over a period of several weeks to ensure that they do not contribute to a further COVID-19 outbreak.

“Those things would be well planned and introduced gradually,” he said.

“You want to make sure it doesn’t cause further spread.”

In addition, gyms may need to change their cleaning regimen with equipment.

“I’m not sure what the standards are now, but it may need to be more common than normal,” said Prof. Russo.

A personal trainer from a small studio on the north coast of Sydney said she would like gyms to open soon, but she was aware of the health implications.

“I would like to see gyms open soon, but I know they will probably be one of the last places to open purely because there are more opportunities for the spread of disease. People sweat, spit, and share machines, “she said.

‘I’m really lucky to work in a small personal training studio where everyone who comes in has a session so we can clean more efficiently and we know where everyone has been so there is no chance of someone coming back from abroad and polluting our studio, but the big gyms will have a hard time. ‘

She hopes that the gyms will be opened at a ‘reduced rate’.

Pictured: A closed sign will be displayed outside of ClimbFit in Sydney on March 26, 2020

Pictured: A closed sign will be displayed outside of ClimbFit in Sydney on March 26, 2020

Pictured: A closed sign will be displayed outside of ClimbFit in Sydney on March 26, 2020

“So many people rely on exercise for their mental health and it also takes them out of the house, away from their family,” said the Sydney-based personal trainer.

“But I definitely think it’s smart to wait until we cut more community-borne cases, because as soon as we open the doors, every man and his dog will be at the gym and then we’ll come back to square. ‘

Peter Collignon, professor of microbiology at Australian National University, said it would be “ very difficult ” for gyms to open in the coming months, and that social distance restrictions are likely to change only after winter.

Prof Collignon told Daily Mail Australia that there were “many things on the list” before gyms, including schools that opened their classrooms to students.

“We need more data, we have to assume all those things will be closed until the end of winter,” he said.

“Unless we get good news earlier and more data.”

Australia’s winter season runs from June to late August.

Pictured: A man uses an outdoor gym on March 30, despite government closing non-essential services

Pictured: A man uses an outdoor gym on March 30, despite government closing non-essential services

Pictured: A man uses an outdoor gym on March 30, despite government closing non-essential services

When the gyms finally opened, Prof. Collignon said they would not immediately return to normal operation.

‘[It would be] A gradual thing that requires respecting physical distance rules for a while and hand hygiene, ”he said.

People with breathing problems should also not use gyms, he added.

When Prime Minister Scott Morrison moved to gyms, he suggested the measures could be in place for six months.

Customers across Australia have cleared Kmart's shelves of fitness equipment to maintain fitness while trapped at home during the coronavirus pandemic

Customers across Australia have cleared Kmart's shelves of fitness equipment to maintain fitness while trapped at home during the coronavirus pandemic

Customers across Australia have cleared Kmart’s shelves of fitness equipment to maintain fitness while trapped at home during the coronavirus pandemic

Department stores like Rebel Sport ran a rush on fitness equipment by those looking to keep fit

Department stores like Rebel Sport ran a rush on fitness equipment by those looking to keep fit

Department stores like Rebel Sport ran a rush on fitness equipment by those looking to keep fit

Fitness warehouses and online retailers selling sportswear quickly became unexpected winners of the health crisis when customers rushed to stock up on equipment and create their own gyms at home.

It was the same story in Kmart, where the shelves were empty, while shoppers desperately tried to get exercise equipment.

CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 6,652

New South Wales: 2,971

Victoria: 1336

Queensland: 1,024

Western Australia: 546

South Australia: 438

Tasmania: 205

Australian Capital Territory: 104

Northern Territory: 28

TOTAL CASES: 6,652

RESTORED: 4,932

DEAD: 74

Disgruntled customers posted on Twitter sharing images of the bare boards and writing, ‘Let’s buy weights and yoga mats, every person in Sydney said #coronavirus.’

It wasn’t long before others said they were also struggling to get their hands on the discount store’s fitness equipment.

‘Forget toilet paper, our local Kmart has been cleared of fitness equipment? # COVID-19, “one woman posted.

Australians eager to get their daily dose of exercise during the health crisis have flocked to parks and coastal walks for their workouts.

Outdoor gyms and playgrounds are also closed, and municipalities have taped the equipment to keep gym junkies from trying to break the rules.

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