COVID in Europe – health club operating restriction update
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COVID in Europe – health club operating restriction update

An increase in COVID-19 cases across Europe is forcing governments to introduce restrictions on business operations
The restrictions are having an impact on the continent's health and fitness market
A full lockdown in Austria has forced all health clubs and gyms to close entirely
More than 20 European countries now have restrictions or vaccination passes in place
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Increases in COVID-19 cases across Europe are forcing governments to introduce restrictions, which is having an impact on some parts of the Continent's health and fitness market.

HCM has researched the situation across Europe and also worked in partnership with EuropeActive to disseminate information, as the organisation is tracking the state of play via its networks and logging these on a live web portal.

A number of countries remain completely open, including the UK, Norway, Portugal, Bosnia and Macedonia.

The next tier – operating under restrictions, ranging from limits on capacity to social distancing measures and opening time constraints – includes Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden, with the Netherlands entering into a stricter regime on Sunday 28th November, when gyms were asked to close between 5.00pm and 5.00am for three weeks.

In the Netherlands, there are also limits on the number of people being allowed per indoor space, with a 1.5m social distancing order in place.

In Germany, a "3G rule" – short for “geimpft, getestet and genesen", meaning you must be "vaccinated, tested or recovered" to be allowed to use the gym – is in place across the country, with additional restrictions also varying across the individual states.

3G is aligned with an EU Directive which governs the movement of people in the time of COVID from a human rights perspective.

In France, gyms are currently being obliged to operate at 50 per cent capacity and with 2m social distancing in place. A Pass Sanitaire (health pass) must also be presented as proof of a negative COVID-19 test or vaccination.

In Italy, a 2m social distance must be respected and either a negative COVID-19 test or proof that the visitor has been vaccinated must also be provided.

In total, more than 20 European countries have now introduced vaccination passes and/or the requirement for those wanting to visit health clubs to provide proof of vaccination or recovery.

A full lockdown in Austria has forced all health clubs and gyms to close entirely until 13 December, when the decision will be reviewed.

In the UK, changes to mask-wearing guidance came into effect on 30 November, requiring people to wear face coverings in a range of settings from shops and supermarkets to banks, travel agents, public transport and pharmacies.

The ruling will also impact the spa industry, as it covers 'barbers, hair salons, tattoo and piercing studios, nail salons and massage centres', however, gyms and health clubs are exempt at this time. The ruling will be reviewed in three weeks (20 December), in time for the Christmas holiday.

EuropeActive's map of restrictions can be accessed here.

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Increases in COVID-19 cases across Europe are forcing governments to introduce restrictions, which is having an impact on some parts of the Continent's health and fitness market.
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