NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka issued the following statement regarding Thursday’s Senate Fiscal Recovery Strategists Committee held in Trenton. The discussion revolved around the challenges faced by health and fitness clubs in returning to business.
“NJBIA thanks Chairman Sarlo and the members of the committee for conducting Thursday’s public hearing on the impacts of COVID-19 on New Jersey’s health and fitness clubs.
“While we recognize an uptick in our state’s rate of transmission and positivity tests, we know from looking at neighboring states such as Connecticut and Pennsylvania that health and fitness clubs are not responsible for spreading the virus and can reopen safely. In New Jersey, the data shows that social gatherings are the cause for our current spread.
“National health data and surveys show that these facilities operating under appropriate guidelines, with good hygiene and social distancing measures saw no increase in COVID-19 transmission and have an occurrence rate of .0004%.
“The economic impact of this industry in New Jersey is significant, employing 53,000 in over 1,100 facilities. Having now been closed for over five months and with no opening in sight, the economic impacts to these businesses, their workforce and the state’s economy cannot be understated.
“The administration can protect public health and balance economic health appropriately by allowing these facilities to open with the proper safeguards that are known to protect public health nationwide and regionally.”