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Could A CrossFit Gym Be Deemed An Essential Service?

Apr 17, 2020 by

The idea has been floated by a group of gyms in Columbus Ohio, who have made an appeal to reopen on the grounds that their business service is “essential.”

Calling themselves the Fitness Soloprenuers of Central Ohio they’ve developed a white paper that spells out what they think are best practices and standards for the fitness industry during this pandemic, and how they could make changes to safely reopen.

Their proposal now sits in the hands of the state government for review.

Why you should care? If successful, this group of gyms could set a precedent for government authorities worldwide to allow gyms and affiliates to reopen under strict guidelines.

Ok, now I’m interested, tell me more. Jim Hofstetter who owns 614 Fitness in Ohio is heading up the charge and drafted this document on April 10.

In short, the group is lobbying for gyms to reopen on the grounds they could operate safely and effectively during the pandemic.

  • “Fitness, health and wellness should be considered an essential service in the fight against this disease (COVID-19). It has been clear that there is an inordinate impact on vulnerable (unhealthy) populations,” the document read.

What’s the catch? The gyms are aware reopening would mean tougher restrictions and are willing to implement “best practices” to get the green light.

It’s important to note, it wouldn’t be out of the question for CrossFit affiliates to implement these protocols to allow them to continue trading during the pandemic.  

  • Spacing and capacity: Every member gets a 64 ft square space, with classes capped at 10 athletes.
  • Programming considerations: Minimize the sharing of equipment and workout durations would include cleaning and disinfecting the equipment. Schedules would also be adjusted to minimize congestion before and after class.
  • Cleaning: All appropriate disinfecting supplies would be provided, members would also be trained in cleaning procedures.
  • Temperature checks: could be conducted at any time. Members and staff can also use face masks at their discretion.

Could this actually work? Many affiliates were already implementing these strict protocols before they were forced to close. We also recently caught up with CrossFit gyms in China, implementing temperature checks and strict cleaning procedures even after the restrictions were lifted.

The group is yet to receive a definitive answer from the Ohio State Governor’s office, who will review and consider the proposal. The Morning Chalk Up also contacted the Governor’s office, but did not receive a response by publication deadline.

In the current climate, we believe it’s unlikely the gyms would be granted this exception, particularly given the precedent it would set worldwide.

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