Letter to Florida Surgeon General – Open Florida Gyms Back Up

Local industry, government, and public health considerations for the gradual, safe, and effective reopening of small health studios.

Florida Consortium of Independent Health Studios


May 4, 2020


State Surgeon General Scott A Rivkees, M.D.

Florida Health 

4052 Bald Cypress Way 

Tallahassee, FL 32399


Dear Surgeon General Rivkees,

We, the small, independently-owned and operated health studios of Florida recognize, respect and believe:

  • In the serious and unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • That our government leaders have already taken necessary action to slow the spread of the virus and are beginning to consider a careful return to responsible economic activity. 
  • That as owners and operators of small health studios, our mission is in alignment with Florida Health – to improve the health of people within our communities. 
  • That, for any reintroduction of services, health and safety must remain our top priority. 

To that end, it is our position that:

As suggested in Opening Up America Again, small health studios are permitted to reopen during the first phase of Florida’s action plan.  Small studios, in which activity is organized by instructors via group classes and personal training, possess the agility to quickly implement and enforce any changes to health, safety, and social distancing guidelines.   

During his address on Wednesday, April 29, Governor DeSantis welcomed suggestions for reopening gyms.  It is our suggestion that, during this initial phase of reopening, your action plan include the following:

  1. Spacing, Capacity and Activity Limitations
    • Owners will ensure a minimum of 100 square feet per person, including staff, in any facility. 
    • Owners will prohibit any “open gym” activities.  All activities should be planned and scheduled to allow health studios to easily enforce attendance limits.
    • Owners will ensure a minimum transitional period of 15 minutes between classes/sessions to ensure adherence to social distancing requirements.  This will also allow staff to disinfect space and equipment between classes. 
    • Owners will ensure that each participant has (a) a designated training area to create appropriate and consistent physical distance and (b) designated equipment to minimize any physical interaction between participants.
  2. Disinfection Methods
    • Members and staff will be encouraged to practice personal hygiene standards according to CDC guidelines posted in the studio.
    • All equipment and common areas, including restrooms shall be disinfected, according to CDC standards, in between each scheduled activity.
  3. Member and Trainer Behaviors
    • Members and staff will be encouraged to adhere to the individual behavioral guidelines set forth by the state.
    • Trainers will record attendance for each scheduled activity, which may be used to support any necessary contact tracing.


We welcome dialogue with local government leaders and health officials to discuss how small health studio owners can be most safe and effective in improving the health of our communities while continuing to mitigate the spread of the virus.  

Should the spread of the virus continue to slow and our methods prove effective, we would appreciate the opportunity to discuss the next phase of reopening as it pertains to our facilities.


Thank you for your time and service.


Yours in Health,

Florida Consortium of Independent Health Studios

(See attached list of those who have electronically signed.)