MANILA -- An alliance of the largest fitness clubs in the Philippines believes that gyms can be a safe place amid the pandemic.
In a statement, the Philippine Fitness Alliance pointed out that it has not recorded COVID-19 transmissions in the months that its member establishments were open.
The group represents brands such as Anytime Fitness, Celebrity Fitness, Fitness First, Gold's Gym, Slimmers World, and UFC Gym.
"We are aware that various sectors have requested for gyms to remain closed because they contribute to a faster spread of the virus. What is the basis of this allegation?" the alliance asked in a statement posted on the Facebook page of Anytime Fitness Philippines.
"It is clearly debunked by our experience and those of our peers abroad," it stressed. "The gyms we represent had more than 600,000 member check-ins in the months we were open, and to date we had zero club transmissions of the virus!"
According to the statement, the Philippine Fitness Alliance was formed as the pandemic continues to threaten the "future of the fitness industry," with thousands of employees losing jobs and having reduced work hours.
Some top executives of fitness clubs in the country also shared their thoughts on why gyms can be "a safe place to boost your immunity" amid the pandemic.
"With risk mitigation and cleaning protocols in place, fitness facilities are safe for members, the community, and staff alike," said Ryan Cheal, chief operating officer of Anytime Fitness Asia.
"There have been up to 188,044 visits (in our gym network) with zero on-site transmissions. The data itself is testament to how safe gym facilities are during the pandemic," he added.
Desiree Moy, president of Slimmers World, for her part believes that with safety protocols in place, it is "highly unlikely" that gyms will be a "super spreader."
"Establishments like groceries, hospitals, and gyms can only provide maximum protection by setting up strict health protocols, but the bottomline is that one's safety is always dependent on the person's actions," she said.