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IHRSA Outlines Safe and Successful Reopening of Clubs Worldwide

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BOSTON, MA - It's been over four months since the first countries began mandating the closure of more than 200,000 fitness clubs across the globe, with China closing clubs on January 24.

Since the lockdown period began, global exercise levels have declined sharply. The 200 million+ global health club members have been without access to their health clubs. This lockdown has had a disastrous impact on mental health, stress and depression, all serious afflictions mitigated by regular exercise.

Since physical activity plays a crucial role in wellness, the continued closures of health clubs are putting the world's health at risk when health and immunity have never been more important.

Because of this, IHRSA, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, is assisting the industry to open as quickly as safely possible. IHRSA is working with national fitness industry federations and fitness industry leaders across the globe to ramp up efforts and guidance to help club operators open quickly and safely by working with their national and local governments.

A number of factors contribute to the efforts of successful reopening, including:

  1. 1. Demonstrating to governments that health clubs are essential and must open as soon as it is safe to do so for the health of its citizens;
  2. 2. Developing frameworks to mitigate the risk of spreading coronavirus in a health club settinag;
  3. 3. Bringing national industry bodies from around the globe together to share approaches for working with governments;
  4. 4. Lobbying for relief and championing industry preparedness;
  5. 5. Supporting the efforts of clubs and national organizations to reach their governments where direct lobbying isn't possible;
  6. 6. Fostering consumer confidence in the health and safety of health clubs; and
  7. 7. Sharing the benefits of physical activity and the essential services health clubs contribute to their communities.

As part of IHRSA's efforts to help clubs open across the globe, IHRSA is:

  • Making the case that health clubs are essential and should open as soon as it is safe and reasonably practical;
  • Stressing that club operators are ready, willing and proactively wanting to work in partnership with their governments on reopening plans; and
  • Suggesting a four-pronged framework for managing risks associated with COVID-19 within exercise facilities.

IHRSA created the framework with reference to the World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), John Hopkins Center for Health Security, as well as consultations with club operators and IHRSA's federations partners worldwide.The four prongs include:

  1. 1. Minimizing COVID-19 exposure by implementing appropriate screening measures.
  2. 2. Minimizing the risk of spread through mitigation measures.
  3. 3. Recognizing everyone's role in minimizing risk through education and encouraging all members and staff to take all the actions possible to avoid spreading the virus.
  4. 4. Minimizing exposure risk by implementing enhanced, evidence-based cleaning and sanitation practices.

IHRSA has made this framework available for free to all in the fitness industry, along with tools and resources to help determine tactics and strategies to implement the framework at www.ihrsa.org/coronavirus.

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