Legislative Council Wednesday 26 August, 2020
Ms FORREST question to MINISTER for SPORT AND RECREATION, Ms HOWLETT
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on to a number of businesses in our state. One sector particularly impacted is the gyms, particularly the small privately owned gyms around the state, where the restrictions that have been imposed on them do not work. They do not have the number of members. Most of them, particularly some small ones in my electorate, have gone to extraordinary lengths to put in place measures, but every time they try, they are still knocked back on the option to be open 24 hours, even with cameras and diligent COVID-19 safety plans. This is pushing some businesses to the wall and stressing the mental health significantly of some of these very small business owners.
Can the minister advise what work and action is being taken to review these requirements and make it possible for these businesses to operate, bearing in mind that there has been a number of gyms open on the mainland where there has been no transmission of COVID-19?
Mr President, I thank the member for Murchison for her question.
This has been a very difficult issue. I have had lots of emails about this. We are working through it. We are having regular meetings each week about a way forward for this.
Currently gyms and fitness centres are required to have a staff member present during hours of operation, to make sure social distancing, hygiene and cleaning requirements are adhered to, and to ensure the health and safety of their members.
While we understand the current requirements may limit the opening hours of gyms and fitness centres, may inconvenience many users, and may require more staffing, this is based on advice from Public Health and the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, the key decision-making committee for health emergencies.
We will continue to monitor and review our response to COVID-19 and the restrictions that apply in response to what are dynamic and challenging circumstances. As I said, this is a situation on which we are working with Public Health on a weekly basis to try to find a solution.