‘A Death Blow To An Already Decimated Industry’: 30 Gyms Petition Philadelphia To Reverse COVID Closures

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A group of gyms and fitness studios in Philadelphia urged the city to reverse its decision to close workout facilities amid the coronavirus pandemic in an online petition this week.

The Philadelphia Fitness Coalition, which represents 30 exercise centers throughout the city, started a petition that has approximately 3,500 signatures at the time of publishing. The group also made a public appearance Tuesday outside city hall to challenge the city’s mayor, Jim Kenney, who shuttered gyms for a six-week period, set to conclude in January 2021, according to NBC Philadelphia.

“As of November 20th 2020, the City of Philadelphia completely shut down all fitness facilities without showing valid transmission data or providing funds to keep our business afloat,” the group wrote.

“The mayor has cut off the #1 tool our community uses to maintain their mental and physical wellness. If this continues it will be a death blow to an already decimated industry, eliminating jobs and income for thousands of employees.”

The coalition cited data from member facilities that claimed their gyms and fitness studios had a “0% transmission rate” out of approximately “260,000 indoor visits.”

“We collected data on over 260,000 indoor visits from July to Nov 2020 and ONLY 30 reported cases walked into our locations. There was a 0% transmission rate traced from person to person. Not a single person contracted COVID from our facilities,” the gyms wrote. The data doesn’t lie.”

The group seeks dialogue with local officials, wants gyms and other workout facilities to be named essential businesses and demands the immediate re-opening of fitness centers, according to the petition. The coalition also requests grant money to help offset the cost of remaining closed and seeks the passage of the The National Health & Fitness Recovery Act, which provides funds for their industry that they say is “failing.”

The Philadelphia Department of Health disagreed with the group’s assessment of the closures and continued to assert that fitness facilities are “high-risk settings for COVID-19 spread.” (RELATED: New Jersey Gym Owners Arrested After Defying COVID Order)

“It is regrettable that places like gyms have had to stop indoor activities,” the department responded, according to Fox News, though they reiterated their belief that gyms “have been shown to be high-risk settings for COVID-19 spread.”

The department continued, “By restricting gatherings gyms as well as other locations we can spare our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed, and save people’s lives.”

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