“We all came together as an industry and we’ve been working on this for months now. And we voluntarily shut our doors even before the mandates because we knew we had to do this for the betterment of humanity,” Zeitsiff said on “Cavuto Live” Saturday.
“But we’ve been working for months to deliver strict sanitizing, cleaning, distancing guidelines and protocols to help keep our community safe. And to your point, exercising, it is medicine. It is very important to people. And as gym operators, above all, we absolutely value the well-being of our communities.”
He added that being in gyms was an “essential part of people’s lives.” “During these tough times, in this pandemic, we’ve got to keep gyms open — people need that outlet and they need to stay healthy,” he said.
Gyms are just one of many large facilities that have had to shut their doors amid the pandemic. The American Academy of Pediatrics has urged governments to reopen schools, for example, noting the importance of in-classroom learning.
While many have expressed reservations about allowing in-door gatherings, Zeitsiff argued that there wasn’t any evidence that shows gyms are spreading COVID-19.
He alluded to a study cited by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), a trade association for commercial health clubs. The organization recently sent letters to every U.S. governor, outlining evidence they said showed the safety of reopening fitness facilities.
A press release from the group read: “In a survey consisting of 135 clubs with 3,443,123 total check-ins, fitness industry consultant, Blair McHaney of MXM/Medallia, reports that there were 0.004% of positive cases reported as of June 30.” A Norwegian study similarly indicated gyms were relatively safe during the pandemic.
However, some experts have cautioned against returning to the gym.
“If it was someone in my family [who was high risk] I would suggest that they not go to a gym,” Dr. Saadia Griffith-Howard, an infectious disease expert at Kaiser Permanente, reportedly said. Griffith-Howard added that gymgoers should assess their own risks and review gyms’ safety measures.
“Are you seeing them regularly clean equipment? And are staff and other clients in the gym wearing a mask?” she asked, according to NPR.