IHRSA 2020 'still on' despite state of emergency in California and withdrawal of Life Fitness and Stages
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IHRSA 2020 'still on' despite state of emergency in California and withdrawal of Life Fitness and Stages

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The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) has announced that its annual convention will "proceed as planned" next month.

Taking place at the San Diego Convention Center in California from 18 to 21 March, the event is set to go ahead despite California governor Gavin Newsom declaring a state of emergency for California on 4 March and the withdrawal of Life fitness and Stages Cycling which announced its intention

not to attend on Friday 6 March, citing concerns about the wellbeing of its employees and their families.

There are currently 53 confirmed cases of the virus in California – with one recorded death – and health officials are monitoring around 9,400 residents.

IHRSA said its executive staff are meeting daily and will continue to "closely review all guidance from global, federal, and local health authorities" to implement what is needed.

"IHRSA has staff watching health policy announcements (CDC, WHO, etc.) and city/county of San Diego announcements," IHRSA said in statement.

It also announced a number of additional steps, designed to mitigate the threat.

"IHRSA has changed food service at receptions so that buffets will not be self-service, but will be served by professional gloved servers," IHRSA said.

"IHRSA is in communication with each of the hotels about their increased cleaning and safety actions.

"We are providing all attendees with personal hand sanitisers, as well as providing hand sanitising stations throughout the venue, on the trade show floor, in reception rooms, and in session areas.

"We will also ensure extra cleaning of commonly-touched surfaces, such as laptops at registration and tables in lounges.

"As always, IHRSA has medical staff on-site who have been trained in appropriate protocols should an attendee, exhibitor, or guest become ill."

Despite the assurances, fitness equipment supplier Freemotion became the first company to declare it was not attending the event.

"Due to the recent announcement of a state of emergency in California, the ongoing global concerns, and uncertainty over the spread of the coronavirus, Freemotion Fitness has made the difficult decision to withdraw from IHRSA 2020 in San Diego," said Dan Toigo, senior vice president and managing director of Freemotion.

"We believe it is important to act responsibly when considering the health and safety of all people – including our valued employees, global partners, and those with whom we associate.

"We’ve had a long-standing relationship with IHRSA and will continue to support them. We look forward to attending other IHRSA events later in the year."

Earlier in the day, the organisers of the FIBO event in Germany announced new dates for the global fitness event, following its postponement from early April, announced last week.

The event will now take place in Cologne from 1st to 4th October 2020.

• To find out more about the precautions and additional steps taken by IHRSA during this year's show, click here.

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The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) has announced that its annual convention will "proceed as planned" next month.

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