Forced to workout outside in the cold and rain of a South Gippsland winter, those keen on their fitness have turned out in numbers to support their local gyms.

 

LOCALLY, Jake Wright of Voyage Fitness in Wonthaggi and Leongatha, has been leading the campaign for a change of attitude by the State Government to gyms and other indoor fitness facilities.

He has hit up the media and our Members of Parliament for their support, using industry research to debunk claims that fitness facilities pose any sort of threat to the spread of COVID-19.

He may well be battling a misinformed general public as well, who’ve repeatedly been told that gyms are “high risk”.

But it’s simply not supported by the facts.

In a letter to local MP Jordan Crugnale this week, he quoted research which details: “There have been more than 6.4 million check-ins at gyms in Victoria since first reopening after lockdown and at no stage has there been any infection or transmission cases in regional Victoria. The same evidence comes from across the globe, but I’ll stick to our state.”

A petition by Vic Active, supported by Fitness Australia quotes a similar clear record in NSW: “The “high risk” classification is flawed – it has no factual basis and the Government has been unwilling to engage with the industry to share information and collaborate properly on a safe sensible opening strategy.

“Of the 7.31 million check-ins across 546 gyms in the first eight weeks after they reopened in NSW on June 13, 2020. During that same period there had been zero cases of reported community transmission in a gym,” according to Fitness Australia.

However, in the absence of any change of approach to fitness centres in the latest round of lockdowns in Melbourne and regional Victoria, the fitness industry has had enough.

They’ve launched a petition on change.org and they’re asking, not only those who attend indoor sport or physical recreation centres such as gymnasiums, health clubs, fitness centres, yoga studios, pilates’ studios, barre studios, dance studios, spin facilities, indoor basketball courts, indoor climbing facilities, squash courts and table tennis centres which have been closed for nigh on two weeks in regional areas, but all those who want to know the truth about the risk, if any, posed by gyms.

Here’s part of the preamble from the change.org petition, now signed by almost 35,000 people.

“Premier, please work with the Fitness Industry to get Fitness Facilities open COVID Safe as a priority – it can be done; it’s been done with great success in Queensland, New South Wales and many countries overseas.

“Fitness facilities are an essential service for the community, and they are urgently needed.

“The Victorian Premier’s roadmap to recovery fails to recognise that fitness facilities are critical to the mental and physical wellbeing of the Victorian Community, at a time when the community is suffering from lockdown fatigue and needs to get back to their health and wellbeing routines.

“Fitness facilities will be amongst the last to open again after lockdown but their 40,000 health professionals are all eager to help the community recover from months of lockdown fatigue.

“Nothing compares to the in-facility experience – professionally led, maximum work rates, terrific sense of community to overcome loneliness, sense of normality, all leading to an optimised immune system.

“The high risk classification is flawed – it has no factual basis and the Government has been unwilling to engage with the Industry to share information and collaborate properly on a safe sensible opening strategy.

“Of the 7.31 million check-ins across 546 gyms in the first eight weeks after they reopened in NSW on June 13, 2020. During that same period there had been zero cases of reported community transmission in a gym,” according to Fitness Australia.

“There is a mental and physical health crisis looming in Victoria.

“Calls to Lifeline up 25 per cent increase during the pandemic. Lifeline call record broken – highest call volume day in 57 years. And 1m+ web engagements / interactions with Beyond Blue.

“Sign our petition and help VIC Active speak up for the Victorian fitness community.”

You’ll find the petition at change.org at the following address: https://www.change.org/p/victorian-state-government-prioritise-mental-wellbeing-after-lockdown

Or simply Google change.org “Open Fitness Facilities Premier”.