Exclude small bespoke fitness studios and micro-gyms from the broader definition of “Gyms”

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Why is this important?
As a small business owner, my Pilates studio employs several team members and supports clients to become healthy, a need more important now than ever.

I have become increasingly concerned that small fitness studios/Pilates studios/micro-gyms are being classified in the same band as a large public gyms or fitness centre, cinemas with a 250+ person capacity, and classes/activities being run in village halls and community spaces. My bespoke and specialist business has been shut down in advance of other non-essential businesses, and like many of my fellow peers we have moved our classes online, however that restricts and isolates certain clients who may have complex movement needs.

Unlike large fitness centres, community spaces and village halls, our small studios and micro gyms can monitor the traffic of people more effectively as our policy is that all clients book to attend, rather than ‘walk ins’, clients attend pre-scheduled sessions limited to this capacity, we also have a typical maximum capacity of 4-20 people, fitness studios and micro gyms serve few clients at a time. In addition, this industry is one of the few female-led and powered industries in existence, we estimate 75% of the owners and workers impacted by this crisis are self employed women (directors and sole traders). In addition, many Pilates teachers and fitness instructors choose to specialise to work with specialist populations, those that are not in the at risk categories (muscular/skeletal injuries and pathologies and mental health conditions) still require regular movement sessions to maintain their conditions or rehabilitate. Several of these small boutique centres are insured and certified to accept referrals from medical professionals and we are not able to offer this specialist service online.

I ask that you support the Petition to exclude small bespoke fitness studios and micro-gyms from the broader definition of “Gyms”, "Leisure Centres" or “Fitness Centres,” and create independent directives applicable for the reduced footprint of the unique business models used by small fitness studios and micro-gyms in the leisure industry category.

We respectfully request that at the early stages of the eventual time-frame when government officials begin to loosen restrictions to allow non-essential businesses to reopen, you will allow boutique fitness studios and micro-gyms to operate under strict guidelines, such as:

Allowing an operation of 1 client to 1 trainer. This is no different than a single salon operator and client, and it is potentially even more benign in that distance can be more easily maintained by a fitness trainer.Allowing an operation of no more than a 10 client to 1 trainer ratio, ultimately dictated by minimum distances. This is no different than a small salon with 4 stylists, or a very small boutique, and potentially even more benign in that distance can be more easily maintained by a fitness trainer.
All of these would take place under the guidelines of intensive hygiene requirements, radical cleaning measures and would assume that high risk populations would be exceptions to this petition. 

Our industry has, and always will be committed to the health and well-being of all others.

We want to reopen responsibly and as quickly as possible.

With appreciation, from all the small fitness studio owners and

Elle Morrison of Bristol Pilates Studio & Stacy Weeks of Red Yew Studio.