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Recommendations for Gyms and Fitness Facilities

Employee Health and Hygiene

  • Employees who have a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19 should be instructed to stay home. Consider a wellness check of employees each day.

  • Maintain an adequate supply of paper towels, soap and hand sanitizer to allow employees to practice proper hand hygiene.

  • Provide tissues for proper cough/sneeze etiquette and no-touch disposal receptacles.

  • Employees should take these steps:<br>- Wash hands on arrival at work, after working with each member, after touching their mask, after using the restroom and when leaving work.<br>-Wear a mask at work if physical distancing cannot be maintained on the job (for example, personal trainers and staff assisting members with exercises).<br>-Let the employer know if they have concerns about the PPE that is being provided.<br>- Carry a towel. If employees get the urge to sneeze or cough, they should use the towel to cover their nose, mouth, and mask, then wash their hands and face thoroughly before going back to work.

Clean and Disinfect

  • According to the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and other credible health resources, COVID-19 is not spread through sweat. Still, items touched by many people in a gym (like<br>barbells, weight machines, and aerobic fitness equipment) must be regularly disinfected because respiratory droplets can settle on them.

  • Maintain an adequate supply of cleaning and disinfection products. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed a list of products that meet EPA criteria for use against the COVID-19 virus. Review product labels and safety data sheets and follow manufacturer specifications.

  • If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

  • Consider using a checklist or audit system to track how often cleaning is conducted.

  • Identify staff members who will be responsible for ensuring regular cleaning and disinfection.

  • Provide materials for members to wipe/disinfect equipment before and after exercise at each location/station/piece of equipment.

  • Increase the number of wipe stations through the facility

  • If members do not wipe/disinfect equipment after exercise, consider providing “ready to clean” tags that members can place on equipment after use, signaling staff to ensure equipment is disinfected before the next use.

  • Establish “before and after” workout and locker room handwashing or sanitizing for all members and staff. Provide handwashing stations at the front of the facility, or provide hand sanitizer if handwashing is not feasible.

  • Minimize the sharing of work tools and equipment such as phones, keyboards, cash registers, and point-of-sale devices. If sharing is necessary, disinfect equipment before and after each use.

  • Clean HVAC intakes and returns daily.

  • Towels and work clothing should be placed in plastic bags after each use, treated as potentially contaminated, and laundered by washing and drying on the highest temperature setting allowable for the fabric. Face coverings should be worn when staff handles dirty laundry. If members bring towels to the facility, the towels must be brought in clean and taken home by the member after working out.

  • Increase cleaning frequency for restrooms, showers and locker rooms, and consider design changes:<br>- Doors to multi-stall restrooms should be able to be opened and closed without touching handles if feasible. Consider adding a foot pull to the door if one is not already in place. Place a trash can by the door if the door cannot be opened without touching the handle, so restroom users can cover the handle with a paper towel and easily dispose of it afterward.<br>- For single-occupancy restrooms, provide signage and materials (paper towels and trash cans) for individuals to use without touching the handles. Consider restricting access with a key to allow better monitoring of restroom use and prompt disinfection.<br>- Post signs indicating that toilet lids (if present) should be closed before flushing. <br>- Post signs asking members and employees to wash hands before and after using the restroom.<br>- Provide paper towels and disconnect or tape off-hand air dryers.<br>- Only allow shower and locker room use if partitions are in place or signs have been posted to specify physical distancing requirements. If partitions or proper distancing are not possible, these facilities should remain closed.<br>- Water shoes should be worn in locker rooms and showers.

Physical distancing for equipment layout and activities

  • Consider spacing equipment at least six feet apart, with greater distancing for treadmills and other high-exertion aerobic fitness equipment. Equipment can be arranged in an “X” pattern to provide greater distancing.

  • Physical barriers can also be helpful to create distancing or segregate exercise areas.

  • Limit the number of members in the facility at one time. Only those members that are actually exercising should be inside the facility. Members should not check in at a front desk or wait in a reception area.

  • Use self check-in, or place a barrier or partition between front desk staff and members arriving to check in.

  • Consider developing online signup systems (e.g., first-come, first-served) with set-duration (e.g., one hour) workout periods.

  • Consider creating specific hours for older adults with admittance by reservation only.

  • Use tape, markers, paint and signage to mark distancing for members.

  • Consider offering planned circuit type workouts that facilitate distancing and allow for wiping/disinfection of equipment during recovery between exercises.

  • Group exercise classes should only be offered if distancing requirements can be maintained and there is no person-to-person physical contact.

  • Basketball courts and other areas where physical contact sports occur should be closed.

  • Saunas and steam baths should be closed or limited to one member or family unit at a time.

  • Staff should monitor physical distancing requirements in large whirlpools or swimming pools in outdoor or well-ventilated spaces and limit the number of members based on the size of the pool. See the guidelines for entertainment and amusement facilities for more information on pool reopening and safe operation. Water fountains should be closed, and members encouraged to bring their own water

  • Juice bars and other food service areas should follow guidelines for restaurants.

  • Establish prepay systems or self-checkout systems (e.g., portable credit card portals that are cleaned after each use). Discourage the use of cash.

  • If a prepay system is not feasible, consider using a plexiglass partition between cashiers and members.

  • Members should use their own pens to sign credit card authorizations. If a pen provided by the facility must be used, it should be disinfected after each use. The same applies for touchpad use.

  • Establish an isolated area for all delivery companies to drop off materials and supplies (i.e., minimize their presence in the facility).

Face coverings and gloves

  • Supply face masks or cloth face coverings for all employees.

  • Instruct your employees in how to properly put on and remove a face mask or cloth face covering. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidance on how to properly wear a face covering and offers tutorials for how to make one.<br>https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

  • If gloves are used, ensure they are changed after working with each member and that staff wash their hands after removing gloves.

  • All members should wear face coverings when entering and leaving the facility and should consider wearing a mask during workouts.

  • Consider making face masks available to members who do not bring their own for use at your facility. Considerations should be made for members who are unable or unwilling to wear a mask or cloth face cover.

Engineering controls

  • Consult an HVAC professional about increasing ventilation rates, the percentage of outdoor air that circulates into the system, maintaining relative humidity at 40 to 60% and placing restrooms under negative pressure.

  • Workplaces should consider guidance from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers when discussing ventilation changes with HVAC professionals. <br>https://www.ashrae.org/file%20library/about/position%20documents/pd_infectiousaerosols_2020.pdf?_sm_au_=inVrrHZ1tS3JtHv7BLQtvK7BJGKjp

  • If fans such as pedestal fans or hard-mounted fans are used in the facility, take steps to minimize air from fans blowing directly from one person toward another. If fans are disabled or removed, employers should remain aware of possible heat hazards and take steps to mitigate them.

Member health and safety

  • Use social media and other communication to educate members on the steps being taken for their protection and what they need to do to protect staff as well.

  • Here’s what to ask of members, in person, and through your communications:<br>- If you are sick, stay home. If you have a temperature, stay home. If someone in your house is sick, stay home. If you have allergies and can’t control sneezing, stay home.<br>- Use online gym/workout services if possible. When walking through the facility, maintain a distance of at least six feet from other members and employees if at all possible.<br>- Plan your workout routine ahead of time to avoid lingering and socializing. This will allow more members to work out given the reduced occupancy necessitated by distancing requirements.<br>- Limit the items you touch within the gym to only the items you will use.<br>- Wear a mask as you enter and leave the building. Consider wearing a mask during your workout.<br>- Avoid using lifting gloves or other personal items that are not easily cleaned.<br>- Wipe down each piece of equipment before and after you use it, using a fresh wipe each time, and dispose of the wipes appropriately.<br>- Wash your hands before and after you leave the facility. If it is not possible to wash your hands, use hand sanitizer when you enter and before you leave.<br>- If you get the urge to sneeze or cough, put on your mask (if not already wearing one) and cover your nose, mouth and mask with a napkin or handkerchief. Wash your hands and face thoroughly before returning to your activity.<br>- The facility has the right to refuse service to anyone exhibiting symptoms or not following facility guidelines.

  • Consider a wellness screening with brief questions for members to enter the facility. <br>For example:<br>- Have you, or has a person you have been in close contact with, been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 14 days? (Close contact is defined as six feet or less for more than 10 minutes.)<br>- Have you experienced any cold- or flu-like symptoms in the last 72 hours (including fever, shortness of breath, cough, sore throat, or difficulty breathing)?

  • Post signage on the front door letting members know about changes to your policies and instructing them to stay away if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

  • Install handwashing or sanitizing stations (with at least 60% alcohol if offering hand sanitizer) at the entrance to your business and encourage members to use them.

  • Staff should visibly carry out proper sanitation practices and should actively encourage members to follow these practices.

  • Remove all unnecessary touchpoints, especially those that cannot be sanitized.

  • Use disposable instead of reusable items whenever possible. Provide adequate trash receptacles, and increase trash removal frequency to accommodate additional waste.

  • Discourage members from touching items they don’t intend to purchase.

Business operations

  • Common-use areas (such as changing rooms, lounge areas, courtesy food and beverage bars, and child play areas) should be closed if it is not possible to maintain social distancing and follow proper sanitizing practices.

  • The facility must maintain adequate records of its members, including names, telephone numbers and visit dates, to assist if contact tracing becomes necessary. The facility must also maintain accurate work records of its staff for contact tracing purposes.

  • Encourage members to use touchless payment options when available. Minimize handling cash, credit cards, reward cards and mobile devices.

Employee training, support and communication

  • Use routine meetings and emails to communicate with workers about actions being taken to prevent COVID-19 exposure.

  • Provide instruction and training to employees on topics including:<br>- How to clean their work clothing properly at home if laundry service is not provided<br>- How to safely put on and remove gloves <br>- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces according to product specifications<br>- Correct use of face masks or coverings<br>- Physical distancing guidelines and ways to communicate them to members<br>- Employee illness reporting

  • Train employees on how to recognize areas or practices that pose a risk for spreading the virus.

  • Define a process to quickly review concerns and provide mitigation strategies in these areas. Include a recognizing/ reporting module in your COVID-19 response plan.

  • Consider assigning one or more employees to monitor compliance with workplace guidance.

  • Post signage to remind your employees of safe practices, such as distancing, hand hygiene and cough/sneeze etiquette.

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