industry – Australian Associated Press

The fitness industry has hit back at the perception that gyms are COVID-19 hotspots, saying there has been no transmission of the virus linked to gyms.

Fitness Australia chief executive Barrie Elvish said Fitness Australia has gathered data from a random sample of NSW operators that proves gyms are safe.

Since gyms reopened on June 13, there had been more than 6.26 million visits to 423 NSW gyms, with no recorded community transmission, he said.

“The same cannot be said for restaurants or bars in NSW where cluster cases have started and spread. However, gyms are still being categorised with these and other entertainment venues and cast in a negative light,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

However, misinformation and negative commentary portrayed health and fitness facilities as “hotspots” for COVID-19, resulting in some people being too scared to exercise at their gym, he said, despite additional precautions and stringent hygiene practices.

The Fitness Australia data was gathered from electronic swipes, used by members for access, which also could be used for sophisticated contact tracing should it be required.

Mr Elvish said there had been 13 reported cases in NSW where a member had visited the gym while infected with COVID-19 but health authorities had not identified any cases of transmission in a gym.

“We are not part of the problem. We are actually part of the solution to getting more Australians more active more often and help prevent long-term lifestyle-related disease,” Mr Elvish said.

“We are urging the government to work with Fitness Australia, and the industry, to ensure the health and safety of the community.”

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