By Tom Walker at www.leisureopportunities.co.uk
There were 22 million visits to fitness facilities during the two months following reopening, with the number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 visits logged as 0.34, with no community transmission occurring.
Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, says the data shows that protocols for monitoring and reporting in the sector are helping to control the virus and ensure the safety of members.
The data came from more than 1,500 facilities in England – measured from 25 July to 13 September.
The UK total, which takes into account different reopening dates in the devolved nations, shows a similar picture, with just 0.35 cases per 100,000 visits.
Importantly, the reported cases represent incidents where authorities have informed a facility that a user, who has had a positive result, attended a facility within a certain time period, rather than indicating transmission in the gym environment.
ukactive’s findings support a growing evidence base from across the globe showing that COVID-19 has a low prevalence in the gym environment.
Earlier this month, an analysis of 49.4 million member check-ins across 2,873 gyms in the US over three months studied the “visit-to-virus” ratio data from health and fitness clubs. It showed that, out of the nearly 50 million visits, only 0.0023 per cent had tested positive for COVID-19 – a result deemed statistically irrelevant.
“These findings show that the number of people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 visiting gyms remains extremely low, which is evidence of the huge efforts being made by gyms to ensure people do not visit if they might have the virus,” Edwards said.
“This shows that the proactive protocols put in place by gyms and leisure facilities to prevent people with the virus from visiting them are working, alongside the highest standards of cleanliness and safety to reduce the risk.
“We must remain vigilant and continue to monitor the situation closely, so that the Government and local authorities are armed with the best possible evidence to inform decisions about the sector.
“Our sector is helping to get the nation fitter and better prepared to fight the virus as we enter the autumn, providing an essential health service to the UK.
“The fitness and leisure sector has a vital role to play in fighting this health crisis, and its role will become even more important over the coming weeks and months.”