Life Time Fitness, through its general counsel Erik Lindseth, has filed a request with the state of Minnesota to produce data related to the spread of COVID-19 in an effort to prove that clubs aren’t contributors to the spread.
In a letter submitted to the office of the governor and other state agencies, Lindseth has requested all data tracing or associating the transmission of COVID-19 infections to gyms, fitness facilities or pools — especially as it pertains to Life Time Fitness. Lindseth is also seeking metadata, to understand the methodology for collecting such tracking data, as well as any data the state considered when forcing gyms to close but allowing other businesses to remain open.
Last week, governor Tim Walz ordered a four-week closure of gyms, as well as bars, restaurants and entertainment venues, as the state deals with a surge of COVID-19 cases. The Minneapolis StarTribune that when the order was announced on Wednesday, the state had more than 1700 people hospitalized with COVID-19.
An open letter authored by Life Time CEO Bahram Akradi argues that the company’s clubs are safe.
“Life Time has experienced 21.5 million member visits to its clubs across North America since May with 962 reported cases of COVID-19, equating to a rate of .00004.” Akradi’s letter reads. “Additionally, we have conducted thorough contact tracing and have yet to identify a single case that originated in our clubs.”
Akradi went on to address the state of Minnesota specifically, and the state’s health clubs in general, arguing that the rate of spread among gyms in Minnesota is even lower.
“Health clubs are NOT the problem, THEY ARE THE SOLUTION to maintaining public health,” he wrote. “They are, in fact, the safest environments people may visit as compared with other forms of retail, entertainment, or any other place, at this time.”
CBS Local Minnesota spoke to Life Time members who told them they thought the clubs were taking on reasonable measures to contain the spread of the virus, such as requiring masks and screening incoming members with temperature checks.
Life Time is urging club members to get in touch with government officials to ask them to reconsider the decision to close gyms.