The first Roundtable meeting was convened by EuropeActive on Tuesday 24th March and bought together 12 national associations as part of the European Fitness Association Forum (EFAF) concept. The weekly virtual meetings are addressing the need for a coordinated response to the Covid-19 situation.
The participants were informed of the measures that are being taken at the EU level and pointing out that the European Commission is supporting the Members States in addressing this crisis, by providing fiscal flexibility and redirecting some of the existing funds. EuropeActive is collecting data on the current position across Europe, and the delegates gave updates on the current situation as effecting the fitness sector and support being offered by their governments.
All national governments are taking measures to limit the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis including many similar measures such as the suspension of rent payments, contributions to staff salaries and payments to self-employed workers. Many participants pointed-out that many fitness operators, training providers and personal trainers are moving their activities online to stay in contact with their members and customers.
The participants reacted positively to the message of #LetsBEACTIVEathome campaign, stressing that it is important that the general public understands that the fitness centres might be closed, but the fitness and physical activity sector is still very much “open” and adapting to the circumstances. The campaign will help to heighten the visibility of fitness.
There was solid agreement for the need to plan for the future and to focus on a combined and unified campaign to promote fitness and physical activity when the COVID-19 restrictions are over. This could potentially be tied into the National Fitness Days, and the European Week of Sport campaigns in September, and possibly under the umbrella of the already successful #LetsBEACTIVE.
David Stalker, Acting CEO said “The EFAF Roundtable is a demonstration of the coordinating role that EuropeActive has in working with our key partners to show solidarity, but also to reinforce the immense collective power we have. By working together and giving clear and concise messages we will achieve much more. I am deeply impressed by the commitment our national associations have towards their members, and in the ambitions to provide solutions and concrete support as we work our way through and eventually out of this crisis.”
The delegates supported the development of a Manifesto or Memorandum for the European Fitness sector to use as a unified statement to help the sector speak with a strong voice with policy-makers and politicians, and as a sign that the sector has a vital role in promoting the ongoing health and mental wellbeing of European citizens.