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Fitness Coalition Organizes Against New Restrictions

Jason Scott

Rising COVID-19 cases have caused many state and local governments to issue new restrictions to curb the spread. Philadelphia last week launched a new “Safer at Home” set of restrictions, which will prohibit indoor exercise at gyms, pools and other facilities until further notice. 

Those new restrictions however are meeting resistance from a group of gym and studio owners  calling themselves the Philadelphia Fitness Coalition. According to Philadelphia Magazine, the group is comprised of more than 30 local gyms and fitness studios, and aimed at appealing to government officials. 

The group launched an online petition, arguing that based on self-reported data, 30 reported COVID cases walked through their doors out of more than 260,000 indoor visits dating from July through November. The group claims there is a zero percent transmission rate from person to person among those known cases. 

The coalition is planning a protest demonstration to take place on Tuesday, requesting that government officials: 

  • Engage in open discussion with the coalition within two weeks
  • Recognize gyms and fitness studios as essential health service businesses
  • Allow gyms and fitness studios to reopen immediately under agreed upon safety protocols and restrictions
  • Expidite city and state grants to fitness studios and gyms
  • Pass The National Health & Fitness Recovery Act, which will provide funds for the industry

The socially distanced “workout protest” will take place outside the Municipal Services Building and be followed by a press conference.

“We’ve been put in the wrong category,” said Gavin McKay, one of the coalition’s organizers and founder of Unite Fitness. “We are helping people maintain their health and wellness mentally and physically. Our industry is different. 

“Our volume is already so low because of the restrictions,” he added. “We’re practicing precautions; we’re never sitting across from one another without masks. We had a tiny window to try to keep surviving, and now we have nothing.”

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