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Separate Gyms from Restaurants/Bars: Retro Fitness CEO’s Challenge to Governors

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Separate Gyms from Restaurants

Andrew Alfano, the CEO of Retro Fitness, issues a challenge to all governors to separate gyms from restaurants and bars amid shutdowns.

On December 8, the U.S. surpassed 15 million total reported Covid-19 infections, according to CNN. As a result, many states across the country are implementing additional restrictions, impacting gyms in various states.

In light of this, Andrew Alfano, the CEO of Retro Fitness, has issued a challenge to all governors, urging them to separate gyms from restaurants and bars amid shutdowns.

“Governors have the largest megaphones and I challenge all governors to start educating their constituents on the importance of exercise, health and fitness,” said Alfano, citing the increased risk of being hospitalized from COVID-19 when paired with underlying conditions like obesity.

Alfano also stressed the essential aspects of gyms to consumers’ mental and physical health, and the fact gyms provide a much more controlled environment compared to bars or restaurants.  

“Very different than bars or restaurants, gyms, health clubs and the fitness industry in general provide tremendous benefits to not only your physical and mental health, but we are also private membership,” said Alfano. “Said differently, this is a great advantage when it comes to contact tracing, as well as — unlike bars or restaurants — you will lose your membership for not complying with COVID restrictions. Cleanliness and sanitation practices by both management and members has also been long standing in our industry. These are not newly adopted and are far more controlled. We are clean, but more importantly we provide our members with a safe environment.”

Months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the fitness industry has gleaned a number of learning lessons. For Alfano, the biggest has been that gyms have an opportunity to improve the overall health of the U.S. population.

“If the pandemic unearthed anything, it created great awareness about all the unhealthy behaviors Americans have,” said Alfano. “States and the fitness industry itself have a great opportunity to better promote the overwhelming benefits of building immunity through exercise, nutrition and overall fitness awareness.”

With this in mind, Alfano is asking governors to view gyms as essential, and separate gyms from restaurants and bars.

“Unlike the pandemic, exercise, health and fitness is very much in our control and I challenge all governors to start promoting and educating their constituents on exercise, health and fitness being essential,” said Alfano. “Why is there not the same action being taken to curve one of the most preventable epidemics – obesity? Health clubs are an extension of health care.”  

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Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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