Last week President Donald Trump and the White House coronavirus task force unveiled their “Guidelines for Opening Up America Again,” a three-phased approach that says “will help state and local officials when reopening their economies, getting people back to work and continuing to protect American lives.” Significantly, gyms were included to reopen in Phase One, provided “they adhere to strict physical distancing and sanitation protocols.” It was not clear from the announcement or what those protocols entailed.

Absent a clear and accurate system for testing and public health consensus on how to protect all workers and participants, it remains to be seen how this will play out. Furthermore, state and federal governments are not yet aligned on timing.

IDEA believes that superior standards for the health and safety of fitness professionals and their clients are paramount. We are as eager as anyone in the fitness community to get the industry back in business as this quarantine wears on and dramatically impacts our bottom lines. However, crafting stricter standards for facility cleanliness and other health-related issues stemming from the harsh reality of living through this pandemic necessitate that we study the evidence and develop clear guidance and messaging for IDEA members—and for the industry at large.

There are still many unknowns regarding this novel Coronavirus, including immunity and reinfection issues. This is compounded by the lack of available testing for all and a nonexistent set of rules for what constitutes minimum sanitation procedures—especially for close contact activities such as fitness.

As overall standards develop from global and national public health organizations such as the WHO and CDC, IDEA will craft a clear position statement and disseminate it to all members. Please know that we are already researching  this and we hope to share guidelines as soon as we feel it’s been thoroughly documented with evidence and very practical, approachable steps for compliance. To ensure high quality, this may take some time, but rest assured that it’s forthcoming.