Prevalence of COVID-19 in people who have used gyms remains extremely low
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Prevalence of COVID-19 in people who have used gyms remains extremely low

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As COVID-19 cases increase across much of the UK, the fitness industry is standing fast, with the latest data from ukactive showing that the prevalence of COVID-19 in people who have used gyms remains extremely low.

Data from a total of 55 million visits to 2,000 UK gyms and leisure centres, covering the four months from July to October – thought to be the largest industry research sample in the world – shows there were just 781 COVID-19 cases reported by people who had previously visited a gym over the 14-week period, against a backdrop of 735,398 UK-wide cases in the same time frame*.

This creates an overall rate of 1.41 reported COVID-19 cases per 100,000 visits.

This does not mean the person testing positive was contagious while in the gym, or that they contracted COVID-19 in the gym –  it purely means that they had visited a gym and – separately – taken a positive test.

The historic data shows case rate among users of fitness and leisure facilities users rose from 0.1 cases per 100,000 visits in the week commencing 27 July to 3.7 cases per 100,000 visits in the week commencing 19 October.

The sites reporting include a mixture of facility types, including gyms, leisure centres and boutiques, as well as different operating models, including private multi-site chains, public leisure trusts and independent operators and studios.

Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said: “The UK fitness and leisure sector has set the benchmark for the responsible monitoring and reporting of COVID-19 cases and by successfully following the Government’s safety guidelines.

“This data supports the case for gyms and leisure facilities to continue to remain open in all tiers through January and February, kickstarting the New Year as a safe and essential service for the physical and mental health of our communities.

“Our members are proud of the huge efforts undertaken by their staff to ensure that social distancing and the highest levels of cleanliness are maintained, while making sure people do not visit if they might have the virus.

“We urge the Government to recognise this evidence when making decisions about the sector, and to provide tailored financial and regulatory support for its recovery – including VAT relief and an incentivisation scheme for customers.”

New findings reported by ukactive are detailed in a new European-wide report from EuropeActive, called An independent assessment of the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in fitness clubs and leisure facilities across Europe: a THiNKActive report.

* As measured by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

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As COVID-19 cases increase across much of the UK, the fitness industry is standing fast, with the latest data from ukactive showing that the prevalence of COVID-19 in people who have used gyms remains extremely low.

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