Open Letter to the Premiers of Canada from the Fitness Industry
To the Premiers of Canada:
Health and wellness have never been more essential to our country as they are at this very moment.
We know each of you is under immense pressure to stop the spread of COVID-19 in your province. We are writing to ask that you consider scientific evidence, Canadians’ mental and physical health, and not shut down gyms and fitness centers that can operate safely.
As leaders in the fitness and wellness industry, we value above all else the health and wellbeing of the millions of members (and staff) who visit the tens of thousands of gyms, clubs, and studios operating across the 10 provinces and 3 territories. We are equally committed to doing our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19 – and our members, who are health conscious, share this mindset.
Here is what we know: There is clear evidence that the fitness industry is not the problem when it comes to the spread of the virus.
Evidence shows the fitness industry is not spreading COVID-19. This past spring (mid-March), we closed our facilities in good faith and based on your mandates to help flatten the COVID-19 curve. Given how little was known about the new virus, it was the right thing to do for the safety and well-being of our members and employees. We then worked within each province to develop stringent safety and sanitation protocols for reopening fitness locations – including limited capacities, distancing mandates, increased sanitation, and cleaning standards; we also looked into face mask requirements for staff members and more.
It was important for us to share these rigorous reopening standards with our members, who are health conscious and understand that our facilities are reopening in a safe and responsible manner.
Today, since reopening, we have evidence that gyms, clubs, and studios are not causing the current virus spikes across the Country. Therefore, remaining open, because of our ability to contact trace and sanitize, should be taken into strong consideration – especially to support the mental and physical health of our members and the community during this unprecedented time.
Additionally, new research from the University of Oslo found no COVID-19 transmissions associated with fitness centers in a randomized trial of reopened fitness facilities. (As a result, Norway reopened its gyms nationwide.)
Meanwhile… there is an absence of evidence.
It is worth noting that our industry has seen NO tracing data provided by public health officials that indicates that gyms, clubs, or studios in Canada are contributing to the spread of the virus.
And let’s not forget: Exercise strengthens immune systems
Moderate exercise has been shown time and again to help immune systems. Data shows that obesity increases the likelihood of hospitalization with a COVID-19 infection six-fold.
However, according to worldwide fitness tracker data, physical activity has decreased by 5% since the pandemic began – no doubt, in part to the shutdown of gyms, clubs, and studios. The millions of Canadians who represent our members make a conscious decision to take care of their individual physical health by working out. They also know that exercise has emotional and mental benefits as well. These Canadians are worthy of having access to the gyms, clubs, and studios to take care of their health.
Combined, these data points offer clear indications that the safety and sanitation policies implemented at gyms, clubs, and studios that have been allowed to reopen are effective – and that these businesses may pose little to no additional risk for COVID-19 transmission compared to other public places.
Plus, our industry provides an essential service to help Canadians stay healthy and strong. The vast majority of gyms, clubs, and studios across the Canada are small, locally-owned businesses. They provide essential services to their members; they are responsible members of their community and are safe to operate according to all current available scientific evidence.
We call on you and your respective ministries of health, to consider the evidence on where the virus is spreading when making decisions and allow gyms, clubs, and studios to safely operate in your province or territory. As an industry, we will continue to operate in good faith to ensure the facilities that millions of Canadians trust to help them stay healthy and strong are clean, safe, and operating in a responsible manner.
To your health and wellness,
Following is a list of fitness industry leaders representing thousands of health and fitness businesses across Canada who are part of Fitness Industry Council of Canada’s coalition:
Chuck Runyon, co-founder and CEO, Self Esteem Brands
David Mortensen, co-founder and president, Self Esteem Brands
Stacy Anderson, President, Anytime Fitness
Amy Halford, Chief Marketing Officer, Self Esteem Brands
Scott Wildeman, President of FIC, Sr. Vice President of Operations of GYMVMT
Skye Kaiss, Vice President of FIC, Managing Partner of Evolution Fitness
Clive Caldwell, CEO, Cambridge Group of Clubs
Krishea Holloway, President of Curves NA., Inc.
Angela Longstaffe, Owner, Body and Soul Health & Wellness
Jeff Ardron, Owner, Fitness Unlimited
Blake MacDonald, Canadian Master Franchisor, Multi-Unit Franchisee, Orangetheory Fitness
Alicia Orleski, Director of Development & Operations, Orangetheory Fitness
Perry Tucciarone, Director, National Accounts & Business Development, Merchant Treasury Services
Nasser Obeid, President, JHT Fitness Canada
Ben McGinn, AB Territory Representative, JHT Fitness Canada
Balal Anwar, Director, Motion Fitness
Stephanie Jeffrey, Executive Director, Manitoba Fitness Council
Jon Brady, President, Midtown Athletic Clubs
Brian Townsend, Vice President, LIV North
Chuck Kelly, CEO and Founder, Movati Athletic
Jeremy Gill, Regional Sales Manager, PRECOR
Lee Cassells, CEO, InChargeTechnologies.com
Rob Dickson, Infrared Fitness
Trevor Zak, CEO, Fitness Inc.
Eveline Canape, Vice-président, Énergie Cardio
Dino Camiré, Owner, One Family Fitness Centre
Kathryn McKenzie, Owner, Surefire Fitness
Danielle Knot, Owner, Club Pilates
Terry Patryluk, President, The Gym Profits Group
Katherine MacKeigan, Executive Director, Alberta Fitness Leadership Certification Association / Vice Chair – International Confederation of Registry of Exercise Professionals
Chris Ince & Laura Cousineau, Owners, U.N.I Training – Pointe St Charles
Curt Griffin, Owner, U.N.I Training – Vieux Montréal
David MacLeod, Owner, Studio U – St. Lambert
Shayne Jensen & Christine Jensen, Owners, Jensen Fitness
Tyler McRae, Core Spin Club
Mike Richert, Executive Vice President, Fitness International, LLC
Jarrett Elliott, 5 Star Fitness
Emily Slaneff, Founder, Crush Camp
Jamie Britt, Franchise Sales Executive, f45
Marcy Verburg, Owner, Snapfitness
Tammy Rossi Apostolovski, Absolute Fitness for Women
Mike Mak, General Manager, Fitness Connection
Alec Pinchin, President, Fitness Forum Ltd.
Michael Clegg, Connect Athletics & Rehabilitation
Diane Kurm, Owner, True Path Yoga and Pilates
John Colasimone, Owner, Valley East Snap Fitness
Leigh Ostiguy, Owner, Snap Fitness Sylvan Lake
Sheri Smyth, Owner, Cycle-ology Spin Studio
David Adams, Snap Fitness Thornhill
Colin DeWolfe, Back Alley Fitness
Tammy Slauenwhite, Fitness Lifestyle Coach & Educator, GO FIT LIFE!