Planet Fitness Australia founder calls on governments to ‘open our gyms’

Dallas Rosekelly, founder and Director of Planet Fitness Australia, has released an impassioned statement calling for governments across Australia, and particularly the NSW Government, to allow gyms to reopen without restrictions.

With Fitness Australia this week suggesting that one in 10 Australian gyms and fitness centres might never reopen because of the financial loss suffered during the shutdown, Rosekelly told Australasian Leisure Management “I have kept quiet for too long, thinking someone else will lobby or push for the re-opening of gyms.

“There are some people starting to make noise, but in general our industry has not been represented.

“Enough is enough, it is time our politicians and decision makers understood the incredible benefits of gyms, health and fitness, and work with us to get our gyms open.”

Releasing an infographic (see below) highlighting the crucial role of fitness facilities in Australians’ mental and physical health, Rosekelly recalled the day in late March when all gyms were forced to close, advising “a loyal member came to me and asked, ‘what will you do?’.

“I advised we would freeze all payments and memberships until we could re-open, to help our community who were struggling mentally and financially.

“She said, ‘but you will not have any income, so can I keep paying my membership to help you?’

“I politely declined and sincerely thanked her kind offer, but what she said next struck me. She informed me that she needed to come to the gym as she was a nurse and the gym helped reduce stress from her work.

“I’ve repeatedly heard other members exclaiming they need gyms to reopen for their mental health just as much as their physical. This is a firm reminder of why we operate fitness centres, and what we do for our members and community.

“Regular exercise reduces the risk of health concerns and diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, depression, stress related illnesses and more.”

Beyond his heartfelt revelation, Rosekelly explain how operators will adhere to necessary restrictions “and enforce precautions to keep our members safe and healthy. These could include social distancing rules per square metre, more cleaning and sanitising stations, more staff to be cleaning at all times, making more processes contact-less, stay at home if you are sick guidelines,

members to strictly follow having a towel and cleaning equipment after use and more.”

Rosekelly urges governments and relevant agencies to engage with fitness providers, concluding “come talk to us and help us re-open so we can help Australians get rid of some stress, freshen their mind, energise their body and start feeling mentally and physically well again.”

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