Back in May, a pool of Miami gym owners, alongside other area health and wellness professionals, dubbed the "Working Wellness Group" by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, met with Gimenez to advise on the reopening of the local fitness industry. Through a series of meetings and calls with the Mayor that have spanned the last few months, the Group realized they were more or less reacting to predetermined decisions vs advising on possible best practices on how to reopen their businesses while simultaneously prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Understanding that they would be more effective if they collaborated and worked the calls and agenda with a unified voice, a subset of owners formed the Miami-Dade County Wellness Coalition to do just that.
"It's pretty simple," said Christa Gurka, Owner of Pilates in the Grove and organizer of the Coalition. "If we speak together with a unified voice, we can be more effective in our communication with local officials."
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Gurka is not one to sit on the sidelines. To her, this is part of the bigger picture for the fitness industry as a whole, where she is working with a country-wide coalition that is lobbying Congress to include the fitness industry in economic relief stimulus.
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“It’s the right thing to do,” commented Gurka on her work lobbying Congress. “The fitness industry has been completely overlooked in all of this, and we are an essential part of the communities we serve. We help define community. We bring residents together every day under our roofs. And something needs to be done to help keep these businesses alive.”
But back in Miami-Dade, Gurka and other members of the Miami-Dade County Wellness Coalition want to make sure their voice is heard and know they aren't being passed over. Case in point, the County has already flagged $35 million for a grant program to help the hospitality industry. That money comes from the $474 million Miami-Dade received from the federal government as part of the CARES Act, which must be used by December 30, 2020.
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Gurka and others are just starting to meet. If local gym owners want to join the coalition, email Christa Gurka at firstname.lastname@example.org.