April 23, 2020
Mayor John Cooper and Ralph Schultz, CEO, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce,
We are a group of small business owners, trainers, instructors, coaches, nutritionists, dietitians and fitness-enthusiasts who work day in and day out to provide Tennessee residents with a safe environment to grow both mentally and physically in one of the most innovative health and fitness industries in the nation. We contribute daily to the fight against diabetes, obesity, and heart disease in our community, support the local Nashville economy and remain dedicated to our community members and clients. We are Nashvillians who work hard to strengthen, grow and connect our industry.
Over the past few weeks, despite the sudden spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and stay-at-home orders, we have remained strong, working hard to continue to provide health and fitness to our clients and members. There is truly no greater city than Nashville when it comes to community support and we are proud to live in a place unlike any other in the nation.
On April 23rd a four-phase plan to reopen the city’s economy was released by the Mayor’s Office to the public. In this plan, gyms were not included for reopen until Phase 3, a timeline estimated to take place around June 1st.
While our community may seem healthier than ever and ready to take COVID-19 head-on, we are not immune to the economic struggles ahead. If we do not help local businesses that provide a space for both young and old to practice movement and stay healthy, a number of our small businesses may be closing their doors for good. The decisions that were provided in the four-phase plan to help reinvigorate the Nashville community has neglected a key industry on the frontlines of health. While it might be overlooked, the health and fitness industry has a direct correlation to keeping health insurance costs low in a state that ranks in the top 10 for high obesity rates. This plan will come with further devastating financial losses to our industry’s personal trainers, staff and small business owners.
We cannot do this without your help. Many in our industry will not survive without immediate relief from our elected officials.
In order to do what we believe is right – closing our businesses to help stall the spread of COVID-19 – we are being put in a deeply vulnerable state and it is paramount that we communicate our needs if we are to survive this disruptive time.
After reviewing the reopen plan, we are communicating our ask clearly:
- Allow gyms to reopen in Phase 1 with the same restrictions and guidelines as restaurant and small retail businesses, i.e. 1/2 capacity
- Allow gyms in Phase 2 to open with 3/4 capacity
- Allow gyms in Phase 3 to open with full capacity
This is an important moment for our city and industry owners. We ask that you help us in protecting our industry’s staff and our residents in a time when they need health the most. As our city’s officials, we implore you to act quickly in revising the reopen plan to lessen the damages we foresee will occur in the immediate future. We trust that you will help us make these changes in a time of need, before it is too late to correct.
Trainers, staff, gym owners and residents of Nashville