Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has signalled a setback in the timetable for the reopening of pubs, restaurants and gyms across Scotland. On June 18th, while outlining the move to phase two of Scotland’s lockdown lifting plan, she made the following statement:
“There is emerging evidence that places such as pubs, restaurants and gyms can be hotspots for transmission. It is important that we better understand this evidence and what further mitigation might be necessary to protect people in such spaces before we permit them to open.”
UK health and fitness club industry’s reopening response
I have not been wholly persuaded by the UK health and fitness club industry’s reopening framework which focuses primarily on reconfiguring gyms and new COVID-19 operating protocols. Although, these are critical pillars, I see three distinct components to help mitigate SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19. Much work is taking place around the first two pillars, but I believe there should be greater discussion on the COVID-19 Track and Trace pillar. This is because a ‘gym’ is not an ‘island’ but an integral and connected part of a wider community where actions and behaviours impact people far beyond its walls. I have discussed this further in an earlier post.
PureGym COVID-19 reopening operating protocol
Leading low-cost gym operator, PureGym has recently announced its operating protocol to help manage the risk of transmission of SARS CoV-2 across its UK gym network. This is in readiness for when permission is granted to reopen. ‘Safe Places to Work, Safe Places to Workout’ is the name given to the framework which includes potentially using an app to pre-screen people before gym entry is granted. They are yet to specify which app and if they will move forward with this idea across their 266 UK gyms (at March 2020).
Harnessing the Zoe COVID Symptom Study app
Read more about how the reporting of daily health using the Zoe COVID Symptom Study app could form a key part of the UK fitness industry’s reopening strategy and the fostering of trust in managing the risk of new infections.