Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

May 2020

Fitness Industry Leaders Reach Out to Governors on Safely Reopening

Following around a month of stay-at-home orders and forced closures across the country, many states have begun slowly opening for business. In order to help the more than 40,000 U.S. clubs—employing nearly 800,000 Americans before the shutdown—open as soon as is safely possible, IHRSA is reaching out to governors across the country. These efforts are putting the health of staff, members and communities first.

Joe Moore, president and CEO of IHRSA said that the association is reaching out to governors for two reasons. "First, to demonstrate the need for clubs to open as soon as is safely possible. It is vital that state administrators appreciate that health and fitness clubs are integral to the overall health and wellness of their communities," he said. "And, second, it's important that these state administrators are aware that club operators want—and have prepared—to help establish opening procedures that prioritize health and safety."

When reaching out to each state's governor, IHRSA emphasized these ways in which health clubs are important to the health of the state:

  • Health and fitness clubs play a central and essential role in the promotion and maintenance of mental, physical and social health and well-being.
  • These local businesses provide safe, supportive environments to improve physical and metal health.
  • Health and fitness clubs—through the promotion of community health and immunity—are an integral part of the solution to returning citizens to a state of good health.
  • Fitness is not only necessary for physical health and immunity. It provides extensive mental health benefits, which are critical in a time when many citizens are experiencing sadness or loneliness.
  • Peer-reviewed studies show that exercise is a natural antidepressant, a viable treatment for depression in some cases, and has numerous benefits for people with substance use disorders.

To help clubs with safety procedures and mitigate risk, IHRSA is gathering and sharing best practices. IHRSA and its member clubs are currently suggesting a four-pronged approach to safety:

  1. Keeping COVID-19 out of the club by implementing appropriate visitor and staff screenings.
  2. Minimizing the risk of spread through containment and social-distancing measures.
  3. Recognizing everyone's role in minimizing risk through education and encouraging all members and staff to take all the actions possible to avoid spreading the virus.
  4. Minimizing exposure risk by implementing enhanced, evidence-based cleaning and sanitation practices.

"We believe clubs should reopen as soon as it is safe to do so," Moore said. "Our industry is committed to putting the health and safety of their staff, members and community first."

Learn more at

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