New study confirms fitness centers are a safe place to maintain physical activity and mental health
Study Confirms Colorado Fitness Centers are a Safe Place to Exercise
Health and fitness clubs in Colorado have one of the lowest transmission rates of COVID-19 of any industry and pose almost no risk of transmitting the virus.
GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo., Dec. 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A new study conducted by the Oregon Consulting Group through data collected by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) found that visiting health clubs poses a very low risk of COVID-19 transmission. The analysis confirms what health clubs have been communicating with their data; gyms have one of the lowest transmission rates of all industries.
The Colorado Fitness Coalition (CFC) is working with the CDPHE, the Colorado General Assembly and local communities to ensure this data is considered in its efforts to support business recovery and allow health clubs to operate at higher capacity levels.
Researchers compared 32 weeks of Colorado gym attendance data representing nearly 8.5 million check-ins to the publicly available COVID-19 case counts. In their study, OCG discovered no correlation between COVID-19 case rates and gym attendance. They found no association to traditional gyms or fitness centers of the 59 different outbreak locations Colorado officials identified from more than 9,700 positive COVID-19 cases. A similar analysis of contract tracing data out of New York State discovered that gyms accounted for a low 0.06% of COVID-19 infections—one of the lowest of any business sector in the state. As such, Governor Andrew Cuomo eased capacity restrictions on gyms.
“There’s a lot of speculation regarding gyms that just isn’t based on facts and data. This independent study confirms that gyms are one of the safest places people will go all day,” said CFC Advisory Board Member, Paula Neubert of Club Greenwood. “Furthermore, maintaining our physical activity and mental health is critical in fighting the worst impacts of COVID-19.”
Timing is critical to ensure that state and local leaders are following the data and science to allow added capacity for an industry that has not shown to be a part of the problem. Already operating at significantly reduced revenue, less than 50% at most facilities, gym revenues dropped an additional five to ten percent in the weeks since the Level Red capacity limits went into effect. This is compounded by the complete loss of revenue for the three months gyms were forced to close earlier in the year. The downward effect further jeopardizes jobs and the health of their members who rely on safe indoor exercise during the winter months. Fitness Clubs have significantly invested in the necessary PPE, sanitation supplies and the execution of turbo-charged cleaning protocols that go above and beyond the state’s recommendations. However, this latest disruption in cash flow could mean the end for hundreds of clubs—large and small—across the state.
In a typical year, Colorado’s fitness industry generates $695 million in revenue. If the current restrictions remain in place for much longer, Colorado will face the permanent loss of an estimated 200 gyms, 22,000 jobs and $12 million in payroll taxes. While the new 5-star certification program is a glimmer of light for many local gym owners who have gone above and beyond to keep the public safe, the relief may come too late for counties that do not qualify, don’t want to participate, delay in participating in the program or put gyms behind the other thousands of businesses in line to get certified. The state could send a lifeline to the fitness clubs to safely increase their capacity throughout the state while the 5-star certification program is implemented.
“There has never been a more critical time to make exercise a top priority. The risks for severe COVID-19 infection are essentially all of the diseases associated with an inactive and unfit way of life. Until we have a vaccine in hand, the best thing a person can do to protect themselves from COVID-19 is to exercise, eat right and not smoke,” said Dr. Robert Sallis, MD. “For this reason, we need to figure out ways to safely keep gyms and other venues for exercise open, so that people can stay active. It is clear that gyms in Colorado, and around the country, have done an excellent job at keeping people safe. Let’s not diminish the importance of gyms in our communities to keep people healthy and help them cope with the ongoing stress and anxiety of the pandemic.”
The CFC urges fitness facilities of every size to join the coalition and its efforts to support the industry in Colorado. Every gym that becomes a member of the CFC agrees to maintain a gold standard in safety, sanitation and security for their associates and members. Learn more about the CFC and how facilities can join the coalition at coloradofitnesscoalition.org
Jenn McFerron Sloan
ABOUT THE COLORADO FITNESS COALITION
The Colorado Fitness Coalition was created in August 2020 for owners/operators of boutiques, studios, health clubs, gyms and recreation centers across the great state of Colorado to unite as one industry dedicated to the safety and well-being of our community, members and staff.
Never before have we realized the important role our facilities can play in the lives of our members as an essential part of their health; physically, mentally and socially. Although gyms are operating with restrictions, we are grateful to be open! Our goal is to work with state and local officials to keep our businesses open and thriving.
Beyond the immediate needs surrounding the current crisis, the CFC will continue to exist and grow beyond the pandemic to embrace other initiatives and ensure our strength and success as an industry in the future.
Visit coloradofitnesscoalition.org to learn more and engage with us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIN at @ColoradoFitnessCoalition and on Twitter at @CoFitCo.
A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/5294738c-c6ab-4ba1-bee3-e173dcee3339
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