PHILADELPHIA - Business owners in the fitness world have come together to form the 'Philadelphia Fitness Coalition.'
Tuesday, they protested the city's decision to implement a second shutdown of all indoor activities.
The group protested outside the Municipal Services Building/
The goal of the protest is to convince city officials to reconsider the shutdown and instead classify gyms and fitness studios as essential health service businesses.
Members of the Philadelphia Fitness Coalition protest outside the Municipal Services Building.
Owners are also looking for clarification on funding, and how business can get assistance during the second shutdown.
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health released a statement prior to the protest, reading in part:
"The best way to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19 is to stay away from people who don't live in your household. It is regrettable that places like gyms have had to stop indoor activities, but the way they have been shown to be high-risk settings for COVID-19 spread. By restricting gatherings gyms as well as other locations we can spare our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed, and save people’s lives."
Business owners like Fit Academy's Osayi Osunde say they have yet to be presented with data that supports the city's stance since the start of the pandemic.
"There’s no question gyms put people at greater risk. It’s only 6 weeks. I’m sympathetic we do have lives at stake here," Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.
In the meantime, Osunde tells FOX 29 the Fitness Coalition has been collecting its own data from when they reopened in July until they closed back down in November.
The owners say in 318,000 recent gym visits they tracked no one contracted the virus.
Osunde added that the coalition is not against the shutdown. He says business owners want to know that if they are going to shut down, that they have a "lifeline through funding."
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"If we are going to shut down, how are we going to pay for our rent?" Osunde said, "If we take away the last way we can make revenue, we won't be able to survive this one."
"There’s no question gyms put people at greater risk. It’s only six weeks. I’m sympathetic we do have lives at stake here," Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.
You can hear more from Osunde on the coalition's goals and how he says the city's gyms have been working to keep members safe in the video above.
For more information on the Philadelphia Fitness Coalition, visit their website.
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