Planet Fitness has announced members will be required to wear masks while working out at all their locations.
With the majority of regions in Ontario having entered Stage 3, gyms, including Planet Fitness—which has nearly 1,500 locations in Canada, the U.S., and Australia—have been permitted to reopen to the public.
“As we continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic, amid an ongoing global health crisis, wellness has never been as essential to our collective community as it is today,” Chris Rondeau, CEO of Planet Fitness, said in a news release.
“Gyms are part of the solution and a key element of the healthcare delivery system, providing much-needed access for people to exercise and stay healthy. Given our leadership position within the industry, we believe it’s our responsibility to further protect our members, employees, and communities so that we can all safely focus on our health, which is more important now than ever before,” he continued.
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While Planet Fitness staff are already currently required to wear masks, customers will be required to do so as of August 1.
According to recent studies, more than three-fifths of Canadians—61 per cent—are overweight or obese, and chronic issues such as obesity, as well as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease increase the risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19.
Further, evidence shows exercise has both short-term and long-term health benefits including improving cognition, bone health, fitness, heart health, and immune function, while also reducing the risk of depression.
“I believe that as people return to their daily activities, they need to be able to safely access gyms and fitness centers with confidence, and reestablish their norms and routines,” Ian Norton, health emergency response expert, founder of Respond Global and former head of Emergency Medical Team response with the World Health Organization, said in the same release.
“While COVID-19 is a serious public health issue, so too is the epidemic of obesity and chronic disease killing 1.7 million Americans every year. Fitness contributes to lowering rates of non-communicable disease related to sedentary lifestyles and obesity, and improves mental health, physical health and overall well-being,” he continued.