COVID-19 Outbreak in Hong Kong Gym Highlights Need for Safety Commitment

A COVID-19 outbreak alleged to be traced back to a gym in Hong Kong has made news and increased the need for health club owners to sign the Active & Safe Commitment.(Photo by vgajic/iStock/Getty Images Plus.)

Despite multiple studies showing that COVID-19 cases traced back to health clubs is low, a gym in Hong Kong is being cited as a possible source for a recent outbreak there.  

The cases have been traced to Ursus Fitness and include members, staff and close contacts of each. The Chinese government allowed gyms to reopen on Feb. 18 with protocols, such as mask wearing in group fitness and personal training sessions as well as regular testing of members, in place, according to the South China Morning Post. Masks are not required for individual workouts.

This outbreak, of course, is making headlines, perhaps because of how rare it is. And it is causing concerns for health club operators who are still trying to convince members and potential members that their facilities are safe.

For that reason, it is even more important for health club operators to sign the Active & Safe Commitment, which is an IHRSA initiative to show the industry’s commitment to providing a safe place to work out. IHRSA is a trade association for commercial health clubs, but any type of fitness facility can sign the commitment and promote it to their members.

Club operators who sign the commitment promise they are following industry best practices in physical distancing and mitigation measures related to COVID-19; employee and member safety protocols; cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting; and contact tracing.

"The Active & Safe Commitment is a public expression of our highest values as an industry,” Brent Darden, interim president & CEO of IHRSA, said in a media release. “I strongly encourage every health club operator to sign the commitment, boldly stand united with fellow operators across the industry, and confidently proclaim health clubs as vital community resources during these challenging times.”

More details about the safety protocols as well as a link for IHRSA members and non-members to sign the commitment can be found here.

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