Dear Premier Andrews and the Labor Government,
I contact you on behalf of Personal Trainers across Victoria.
Our industry, like many others, is facing catastrophe at the hands of COVID-19 and the extended lockdown across Victoria.
In Melbourne, Personal Trainers have ceased operations since the 23rd of March. While it is a breath of fresh air for restrictions to have eased and outdoor one-on-one personal training to be unrestricted, Melbourne’s unpredictable weather presents health-risks and potential injury hazards to clients and trainers alike; along with further disruption of income and business for thousands of trainers across Victoria.
As an industry leader, I feel it my duty to present a COVID safe plan for personal trainers to return to regular indoor operation, backed by science and evidence. I write to you to consider one to one, appointment-based personal training, where every aspect can be tightly regulated and controlled; be reclassified as an essential service under the same category as physiotherapy, myotherapy, osteopathic care and other allied health professionals.
In making your decision, please consider the following:
Montreal, Canada has recently reentered a red-zone lockdown for 28-days. Since the previous lockdown, they now have data and learnt personal training studios and gyms to be very low risk. As such, they were still permitted to operate inside of stage 1 red-zone lockdown under an appointment-based model.
Data collected from the United States, from 49.4 million club visits, across 2877 locations in August, found the infection occurrence rate was 0.002% and zero transmissions occurred from any reported cases.
Similarly, in the U.K., the infection rate is 0.34 cases per 100,000 visits from 22 million visits in two months following reopening with zero community transmission recorded.
Domestically, data collected by Fitness Australia shows that from 7.31 million check-ins across 546 clubs in the first eight weeks after NSW reopened gyms, there were zero cases of reported community transmissions.
These numbers are due to the controlled clean environments of modern gyms and personal training studios which has only been further amplified with COVID-safe plans. However, I understand, in these uncertain times, one does not want to take risks unnecessarily. Hence I put forth a very conservative plan to allow the personal training sector to get back on its feet:
– All clients to have temperature screening upon entry
– Clients and staff require to wash their hands upon entry
– All clients must be accompanied by a qualified personal trainer for the duration of their workout
– All personal trainers and staff to wear masks on-premise
– Capacity limits of 1 person per 7 square metres
– Equipment to be wiped down after each session by the trainer
– Each client to submit medical history for the business or trainer to keep on file
– Personal Trainers to operate via appointment only
– No cardio equipment like bikes, treadmills or cross trainers permitted for use.
As personal trainers, we are the front line of mental health. Many who can’t find the words to ask for help or look to take the first step towards cleaning up their lives, do so by reaching out to a personal trainer and getting their bodies back in shape. For tens of thousands of Victorians, personal training and physical fitness is their outlet, and now in a time of hardship, we are needed more than ever.
Whilst our industry is very grateful to be able to train outdoors, we still expose ourselves to unpredictable weather, muddy ovals, uneven grounds and multiple issues of toilet and bathroom usage. An indoor, appointment-based solution would alleviate the issues we face as an industry and only further strengthen hygiene policies.
Stats for consideration:
According to the IBIS business report, the Australian Personal Trainers market size is $468 million with 8,412 businesses. Wages are estimated at 217.2 million with Victoria representing 27.3% of the Australian market.
One to one personal training represents 39.8% of product segmentation. We believe now that group training is severely restricted, that percentage will rise to as high as 60 to 70% with online training and home workout routines also accruing the group training market.
Clients partaking in personal training are all in relatively low-risk age groups. 89.1% of the personal training market are aged below 55. If required, personal training could implement age restrictions on indoor personal training to further satisfy government COVID regulations.
With this, I ask, please consider reclassifying personal training as an essential service and under the same category as physiotherapy, osteopathic care and other allied health professionals. I know we can operate safely and well within the rules. Victoria needs us and our industry is suffering. I understand personal training is too small of an industry to warrant funding; however, this small tweak of allowing restricted indoor personal training will go a long way in saving the fitness industry in Melbourne.
Yours in health,
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1. Montreal – Gyms stay open despite regional colour change
2. U.S. – National study confirms, it is safe to workout out at the gym
3. U.K. Active – Fitness and leisure sector reports COVID rate of 0.34 per 100,000 visits
4. Fitness Australia – Gyms are not hotspots for COVID-19
5. IBIS – Personal Trainer report