We are extremely disappointed by government’s decision today (23rd June 2020) to continue to legally prevent indoor sport and health clubs to reopen. With over 165 gyms serving communities across the United Kingdom and Ireland we are saddened by not being able to provide access to our members to safely improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing at such an important time.
Whilst there will always be a challenge with so many sectors fighting for a position in a long queue to begin trading again, we feel that this decision in particular is not based on science or logic. This decision is one which not only serves to damage the health of our population when they most need us, but also unnecessarily puts many jobs at risk and certainly will result in business failures.
The Prime Minister was very vocal in the press following his fight with COVID-19 that obesity and being overweight in particular was something that compromises a person’s ability to be resilient and reduce the severity of symptoms and in turn reduces the need for hospitalisation (something that feeds directly into one of the 5 key tests). Mr Johnson was clear that fighting obesity levels was to be placed high on the public agenda and needed to be addressed – we passionately feel this also extends to other underlying health issues which can be remedied or reversed through exercise.
As an entire sector, there has been extensive and prolonged collaboration since we were closed back on March 20th which has led to a very sound proposed framework which tackles the key issues of cleanliness, and social distancing in preventing transmission within our facilities. This was submitted to the government in early May and was based on achieving 2 metres social distancing. Furthermore it ensures capacity management within a space and has been produced in conjunction with virologists and scientists – we have openly invited our local MPs to visit our gyms in their constituencies to see the work and absolute commitment to health and safety that all operators have undertaken, and it is disappointing that they have not been forthcoming in taking us up on this offer.
Anytime Fitness provides a fob entry system and we have created the capacity for members to book their visits online or through our app as we re-open, as well as being able to offer well ventilated facilities that do not just recirculate air. These are two particular areas we feel should give both the government and the public increased confidence.
To quote CMO Professor Chris Witty – “There is no situation, there is no age and no condition where exercise is not a good thing”.
We urge the government to give us clarity and change its decision and allow us to serve our communities from the 4th July, we are well prepared to keep both our members and our teams safe and well as we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.