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Gym owners reeling from COVID-19 lockdown form National Fitness Association

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Posted: Thursday, October 15, 2020. 1:41 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: Gymnasiums all over Belize, to date, remain closed and gym owners have sustained incredible financial losses because of it. In an effort to reopen while ensuring the safety of their staff and customers, the owners of more than 20 gyms have banned together to form the National Fitness Association (NFA) and put forth a detailed proposal to the government on safe reopening.

Today the NFA announced that the National COVID-19 Oversight Committee (NOC) has rejected its proposal, which would mean greater financial harm to owners and the employees that rely on the gyms reopening to earn a living.

“There has been no real data or evidence provided to indicate that gyms IN BELIZE are responsible for super spreading events,” the NFA said. “While the government’s messages on health have been to stay physically and mentally healthy; we argue that those messages have been disingenuous.”

Our newsroom spoke with Albert Garcia, interim co-chair of the NFA, who explained that the NOC does not have anyone from the fitness sector sitting on it, which causes a disconnect between the committee and how the choices it makes affects the sector.

“One of the concerns they raised was about ventilation, saying that there was stale air in the gyms due to the air conditioners. But many of the other businesses already operating have air conditioning. We’re just saying that if that was a real issue then all these other businesses would be closed as well,” Garcia said.

The association, which represents 25 gyms countrywide, says that it will continue to lobby for the safe reopening of gyms and will move to add other stakeholders to their cause.

Notably, the World Health Organization issued a statement last week, noting that the economic harm that comes from lockdowns outweighs the potential benefits of virus spread prevention.

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