Is a Proof of Vaccination Coming to your Fitness Club or Studio?


Proof of COVID vaccination as a requirement for entry into fitness studios like VIDA Fitness in the States & David Lloyd clubs in the UK has sparked a massive conversation across the fitness industry. Central governments & disease control centers are responding to calls to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus while businesses deal with how to inform their membership of the best way to return to their clubs safely. 


Members are eagerly awaiting word on when they can resume their normal social gatherings. They are anxious to get back to the progress made before the swell of coronavirus cases derailed businesses & fitness goals worldwide. Managing their motivations & expectations has been a surprise requirement of business owners.


There is also the ever-evolving economic & public health impact as the virus, & its variants are present in populations across the globe. Many of whom are grappling with the possibility of more lockdowns. Will your club be requiring proof of vaccination during all of this? That answer appears to vary based on local authorities & their partnership with disease experts. It has been shown, in places like San Francisco & New York in the U.S., that many authorities are NOT relaxing the mask mandates for indoor activities for unvaccinated visitors. The conversation about proof of vaccination requirements is a growing one as these policies roll out.


-In the U.S. cities like San Francisco have mandated proof of vaccination for indoor activities

-Meanwhile, in the UK healthcare providers are beginning to see a requirement for vaccines

-The fitness industry at large has not adopted a singular response, but large clubs have embraced strenuous cleaning protocols & kept up with mask & face-covering guidelines


Fitness studios, in many cases, are opting to write their members notifying them of required proof of vaccination before returning to one of the clubs’ locations. No one wants a disgruntled member & a surprise upon arrival. While still observing social distancing guidelines & adopting best practices to ensure member safety, a variety of responses from member bases are being heard. Overwhelming support for a vaccine mandate has come in some cases where company-wide surveys have been supplied to gym members. In other instances, requirements for proof of vaccination are being likened to infringements on individual liberties. Both members and employees of several clubs are being allowed medical & religious accommodations where appropriate, to continue without proof of COVID vaccination.


Gymgoers are still left wondering if normalcy will be returning to their clubs anytime soon. Cleaning stations, viricidal solvents, & more facility management staff are a regular site at fitness studios. Businesses are fighting to keep their doors open & mitigate the spread of the virus by whatever means available.


In the event of sweeping requirements for proof of vaccination, there are some questions of how individuals will respond to exercise, post-vaccination. Most are met with resounding encouragement towards & approval of exercise after the vaccine. Condition-specific situations may arise & are being left up to care providers & their individual patients to decide the best next steps regarding exercise after vaccination. 


Some regulatory acts that prohibit the discrimination of people based on disability are being cited. The application of eligibility factors, to include vaccination, is being weighed as business owners are having their first foray into an event of this kind. Protection of their business interests & staying within the legal guidelines is a very prominent consideration of owners.


The potential for full exemptions from vaccine seem slim but there are cases where exemptions from mask mandates are being seen. Members who are unvaccinated are being asked to resume the use of face coverings in lieu of being required to provide proof of vaccination. Generally, this has been received warmly though there are some instances of disapproval.


News in May of 2021 from the United States’ Center for Disease Control loosening the requirement of vaccinated individuals to use masks shined a glimmer of hope. A stream of new members and returning existing members followed this news promptly. Many were waiting for a sign that they would be able to congregate with friends & fellow fitness enthusiasts.


Simply bored of at-home workouts, many are opting to move ahead with vaccination in the wake of the delta variant. The development of new strains has shaken some confidence that returning to indoor workouts unvaccinated would be happening anytime soon.


Businesses & municipalities are monitoring the situation closely hoping to avoid more lockdown scenarios. The vaccines have buoyed levels of conviction around an effective return to safe social assembly in some parts of the world while failing to bring encouragement in others.


Managing the expectations of the membership base has become a major part of the covid vaccination saga. Introducing a type of vaccine passport as part of the offerings in the mobile apps that some gyms provide has become a topic of discussion. Technology has been an effective key for convenience in the past & is being recruited in the effort to improve compliance in a less intrusive manner.


An uptick in business policies regarding the vaccines from all manufacturers has arrived on the scene nearly as fast as the vaccinations themselves. There is optimism & some have expressed hope for the regular gym-going experience to return. Such is the case of Planet Fitness whose CEO, Chris Rondeau, vocalized a desire to see the shelf life of the vaccine mandates be a brief one. At-home competition has surely been a part of the encouragement of CEOs and owners to see people back in the gym.


Gym members, like all people, want to be able to come & go at their leisure. By & large, gyms are providing guidelines for admittance of vaccinated & unvaccinated members, rather than requiring proof of vaccination. It is a developing set of circumstances being met with shifting responses regularly. Still, new considerations crop up as the at-home market grows to keep pace with the peoples’ need to sweat.