Illinois Fitness Alliance to Offer Free Access to Healthcare Workers
The Illinois Fitness Alliance and Chicago Medical Society (CMS) have joined together to offer front-line healthcare workers complimentary access to certain fitness facilities between December 14, 2020, and February 1, 2021.
CMS represents more than 17,000 physicians and licensed healthcare professionals across Chicago’s Cook County. The Illinois Fitness Alliance represents over 1,275 fitness clubs, boutiques and studios, in addition to manufacturers and suppliers. The initiative came about through the support of Mel Kleist, the executive director of East Bank Club, Gale Landers, the CEO of Fitness Formula Clubs, and Steven Schwartz, the CEO of Midtown Athletic Clubs.
The partnership aims to provide CMS members with increased access to fitness facilities so they can focus on and protect their physical and mental health as they continue to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
“Time and time again in this pandemic, Illinoisans have demonstrated a remarkable generosity and a willingness to step up for their neighbors, even in the toughest of moments,” said Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, in a statement. “The Illinois Fitness Alliance and the CMS carry forward that same incredible spirit in giving 17,000 Cook County frontline healthcare heroes the opportunity to enhance their own mental and physical health amid the most tasking period of their careers at no cost of their own. I am grateful to this partnership and to all the member organizations participating in this program for their efforts to lift up one another — may we all find inspiration in their choice to be all in, Illinois.”
To participate in this program, Illinois Fitness Alliance members have confirmed their strict adherence to public health guidelines outlined by the CDC and local and state officials, including requiring masks, maintaining proper air ventilation, physical distancing, capacity restrictions and regularly disinfecting equipment. Participating brands include East Bank Club, Midtown Athletic Clubs and Fitness Formula Clubs, among others.
Front-line healthcare workers are facing mounting pressure as the U.S. continues to break records of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations. According to CMS, “nearly 30 percent of CMS member physicians reported feelings of intense burnout and indicated they needed some type of mental health counseling,” signifying the importance of healthcare workers retaining access to gyms.
“We are deeply appreciative to the front-line healthcare professionals who continue to keep our communities safe during COVID-19,” said Schwartz. “As they continue to take care of us, we are honored to open our doors to the CMS and offer our support to help strengthen their own physical and mental health.”
Editor’s note: Stay tuned for the February 2021 cover story, which will outline the role Mel Kleist, the executive director of the East Bank Club, the Illinois Fitness Alliance and CMS have played in keeping gyms open in the state.