Planet Fitness will require all of its members and their guests to wear masks in all of its U.S. gyms beginning August 1, NBC News reported. The national gym franchise, one of the nation's largest, is the latest major business to require all customers and employees to wear masks nationwide.
In a mass email sent to members and obtained by NBC News, the company noted that, without masks, the locations may not have customers to serve.
"Effective August 1, all Planet Fitness members (you!) & guests will be required to wear a mask inside our clubs, at all times. This added safety precaution also helps us to remain open to serve you and keep you healthy and moving!"The email also noted that the chain already instituted "enhanced" cleaning and sanitizing measures.
Members and guests who show up without a mask will be provided one, although exceptions will be made for people who have a valid medical reason not to wear one. Members who do not want to wear their masks will be given the option of "freezing" their membership until the mask requirement is withdrawn.
Employees have been required to wear them ever since the facilities began reopening earlier this year.
Chris Rondeau, the company's CEO, noted that physical fitness is as important as ever during a pandemic, and indeed, could be the key to recovery in some patients, according to PR Newswire.
"As we continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic, amid an ongoing global health crisis, wellness has never been as essential to our collective community as it is today. Gyms are part of the solution and a key element of the healthcare delivery system, providing much needed access for people to exercise and stay healthy," Rondeau said.
Dr. Ian Norton echoed a similar sentiment, noting that while COVID-19 is an epidemic, so is obesity. He added that physical fitness can be a key in battling both.
However, gyms also have the potential to spread the pathogen that causes the disease, as they bring people into close quarters indoors. Often, gym users are in close proximity to each other using equipment, breathing heavily as they endure their workout. What's more, the equipment is shared by multiple users.
The fitness chain joins other major U.S. businesses to require all customers to wear masks in all of their locations. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, major companies such as Walmart, Home Depot, and McDonald's, to name a few, have enacted nationwide face-mask requirements for all customers and employees.