Six representatives from industries affected by COVID-19 restrictions are due to testify before the Oregon Senate Committee on Healthcare on Wednesday, February 10.
The hearing of the Senate Committee on Health Care can be watched live on February 10 at 1:00 p.m. at the following link: https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2021R1/Committees/SHC/2021-02-10-13- 00 / agenda.
The group will outline the impact of COVID-19 measures on their organizations, including two health and fitness club owners.
Dianna Risley of Gorge Athletic Clubs and Tate Metcalf of Sisters Athletic Club, both board members of the Oregon Health and Fitness Alliance, are due to speak with the committee about the impact of closures related to COVID on their facilities, as well as the effects that the closings will and will impact had persistent restrictions on the physical and emotional health of their club members.
“At Gorge Athletic Clubs, we’ve seen the health and emotional wellbeing of our members decline,” said Risley. “We have found that so many older members are significantly less mobile because they have limited access to our recumbent bikes and therapy pool.
Risley said two weeks ago she spoke to another gym owner who spent the morning talking to one of her members about a dangerous and life threatening mental crisis caused by her inability to access the services that help her meet the challenges we are all facing now.
Both Risley and Metcalf are expected to testify to the challenges their facilities have faced in complying with what they call “arbitrary, one size fits all” capacity constraints for their facilities, which are limited to 25% or more, even in high-risk circles, 50 people, each whichever is smaller, regardless of the size of the facility.
“Even if many of the most populous counties move from extreme risk to high risk as of Friday, a maximum of 50 people is unrealistic for so many of the larger Oregon fitness facilities, some of which are 30,000, 150,000 or 650,000 square feet,” Metcalf said . “Our industry continues to advocate reasonable and responsible occupancy restrictions based on percentage of capacity, just like almost every other industry in the state under which it is allowed to operate.”
Ross Hoover, City of Tualatin Parks & Recreation; Brad Hester, president of the Oregon Dental Association; Jeremy Hilliard, Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Education at Pacific University; and Kym Garrett, Kym Garrett acupuncture are also due to testify at the hearing.