GYMS FITNESS FACILITIES AND - WEDC

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GYMSANDGUIDANCE ON PREPARING WORKPLACES FOR COVID-19FITNESS FACILITIES1

Gyms and fitness facilities provide an important outletfor people seeking to improve their health and well-being.These facilities span a wide range of types, ranging fromfull-service facilities to specialty and boutique offerings.While many facilities have found ways to connect withtheir customers virtually, there is no replacement for theuse of equipment and personal training services to meetindividual customer needs. To ensure consistency inkeeping you and your employees safe, this guide isntended to provide general guidelines and best practicesfor gyms and fitness facilities looking to take steps to opentheir facility when it is time to do so. In addition, please seethe “General Guidance for All Businesses” document forguidance that applies to all industries, and please consultthe other available industry guides as relevant for yourspecific business type.Gyms and fitness facilities are faced with manychallenges that must be addressed before reopening,including employee training and protection, minimizingthe risk of transmission in the facility, and protectingcustomers. This document is designed to address theseand other key challenges. Using personal protectiveequipment (PPE), physical barriers, physical distancing,appropriate cleaning and disinfection procedures, and theother steps described below can help minimize thepotential for exposure and the spread of COVID-19.Recommendations for Gymsand Fitness FacilitiesEmployee health and hygieneCarry a towel. If employees get the urge to sneeze orcough, they should use the towel to cover their nose,mouth and mask, then wash their hands and facethoroughly before going back to work.Employees who have a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19should be instructed to stay home. Consider a wellnesscheck of employees each day.Maintain an adequate supply of paper towels, soap and handsanitizer to allow employees to practice proper hand hygiene.Clean and disinfectProvide tissues for proper cough/sneeze etiquette andno-touch disposal receptacles.According to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and othercredible health resources, COVID-19 is not spread throughsweat. Still, items touched by many people in a gym (likebarbells, weight machines and aerobic fitness equipment)must be regularly disinfected because respiratory dropletscan settle on them.Employees should take these steps:Wash hands on arrival at work, after working witheach member, after touching their mask, after usingthe restroom and when leaving work.Wear a mask at work if physical distancing cannot bemaintained on the job (for example, personal trainersand staff assisting members withexercises).Let the employer know if they have concerns aboutthe PPE that is being provided.PROTECT2WASH OFTENDISINFECTCAUTION

Maintain an adequate supply of cleaning and disinfectionproducts. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)has developed a list of products that meet EPA criteria for useagainst the COVID-19 virus. Review product labels and safetydata sheets and follow manufacturer specifications.Towels and work clothing should be placed in plastic bagsafter each use, treated as potentially contaminated, andlaundered by washing and drying on the highesttemperature setting allowable for the fabric. Face coveringsshould be worn when staff handles dirty laundry. If membersbring towels to the facility, the towels must be brought inclean and taken home by the member after working out.If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using detergentor soap and water prior to disinfection.Increase cleaning frequency for restrooms, showers andlocker rooms, and consider design changes:Consider using a checklist or audit system to track how oftencleaning is conducted.Doors to multi-stall restrooms should be able tobe opened and closed without touching handles iffeasible. Consider adding a foot pull to the door if oneis not already in place. Place a trash can by the doorif the door cannot be opened without touching thehandle, so restroom users can cover the handle witha paper towel and easily dispose of it afterward.Identify staff members who will be responsible for ensuringregular cleaning and disinfection.Provide materials for members to wipe/disinfect equipmentbefore and after exercise at each location/station/piece ofequipment.Increase the number of wipe stations through the facility.For single-occupancy restrooms, provide signageand materials (paper towels and trash cans) forindividuals to use without touching the handles.Consider restricting access with a key to allow bettermonitoring of restroom use and prompt disinfection.If members do not wipe/disinfect equipment after exercise,consider providing “ready to clean” tags that members canplace on equipment after use, signaling staff to ensureequipment is disinfected before the next use.Establish “before and after” workout and locker roomhandwashing or sanitizing for all members and staff. Providehandwashing stations at the front of the facility, or providehand sanitizer if handwashing is not feasible.Post signs indicating that toilet lids (if present)should be closed before flushing.Post signs asking members and employees to washhands before and after using the restroom.Minimize sharing of work tools and equipment such asphones, keyboards, cash registers and point-of-sale devices.If sharing is necessary, disinfect equipment before and aftereach use.Provide paper towels and disconnect or tape off handair dryers.Only allow shower and locker room use if partitionsare in place or signs have been posted to specifyphysical distancing requirements. If partitions orproper distancing are not possible, these facilitiesshould remain closed.Clean HVAC intakes and returns daily.Water shoes should be worn in locker rooms andshowers.3

Physical distancing for equipment layoutand activitiesBasketball courts and other areas where physical contactsports occur should be closed.Saunas and steam baths should be closed or limited to onemember or family unit at a time.Consider spacing equipment at least six feet apart, withgreater distancing for treadmills and other high-exertionaerobic fitness equipment. Equipment can be arranged inan “X” pattern to provide greater distancing.Staff should monitor physical distancing requirementsin large whirlpools or swimming pools in outdoor orwell-ventilated spaces and limit the number of membersbased on the size of the pool. See the guidelines forentertainment and amusement facilities for moreinformation on pool reopening and safe operation.Water fountains should be closed, and membersencouraged to bring their own water.Physical barriers can also be helpful to create distancing orsegregate exercise areas.Limit the number of members in the facility at one time.Only those members that are actually exercising should beinside the facility. Members should not check in at a frontdesk or wait in a reception area.Juice bars and other food service areas should followguidelines for restaurants.Use self check-in, or place a barrier or partition between frontdesk staff and members arriving to check in.Establish prepay systems or self-checkout systems (e.g.,portable credit card portals that are cleaned after each use).Discourage the use of cash.Consider developing online signup systems (e.g., first-come,first-served) with set-duration (e.g., one hour) workoutperiods.If a prepay system is not feasible, consider using a plexiglasspartition between cashiers and members.Consider creating specific hours for older adults withadmittance by reservation only.Use tape, markers, paint and signage to mark distancing formembers.Members should use their own pens to sign credit cardauthorizations. If a pen provided by the facility must be used,it should be disinfected after each use. The same applies fortouchpad use.Consider offering planned circuit type workouts that facilitatedistancing and allow for wiping/disinfection of equipmentduring recovery between exercises.Establish an isolated area for all delivery companies to dropoff materials and supplies (i.e., minimize their presence inthe facility).Group exercise classes should only be offered if distancingrequirements can be maintained and there is noperson-to-person physical contact.4

Face coverings and glovesMember health and safetySupply face masks or cloth face coverings for all employees.Use social media and other communication to educatemembers on the steps being taken for their protection andwhat they need to do to protect staff as well.Instruct your employees in how to properly put on andremove a face mask or cloth face covering. The U.S. Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidanceon how to properly wear a face covering and offers tutorialsfor how to make one.Here’s what to ask of members, in person and through yourcommunications:If you are sick, stay home. If you have a temperature,stay home. If someone in your house is sick, stayhome. If you have allergies and can’t control sneezing,stay home.If gloves are used, ensure they are changed after workingwith each member and that staff wash their hands afterremoving gloves.All members should wear face coverings when enteringand leaving the facility, and should consider wearing a maskduring workouts.Use online gym/workout services if possible.When walking through the facility, maintain adistance of at least six feet from other membersand employees if at all possible.Consider making face masks available to members who donot bring their own for use at your facility. Considerationsshould be made for members who are unable or unwillingto wear a mask or cloth face cover.Plan your workout routine ahead of time to avoidlingering and socializing. This will allow moremembers to work out given the reduced occupancynecessitated by distancing requirements.Engineering controlsLimit the items you touch within the gym to onlythe items you will use.Consult an HVAC professional about increasing ventilationrates, the percentage of outdoor air that circulates into thesystem, maintaining relative humidity at 40 to 60% andplacing restrooms under negative pressure.Wear a mask as you enter and leave the building.Consider wearing a mask during your workout.Avoid using lifting gloves or other personal itemsthat are not easily cleaned.Workplaces should consider guidance from the AmericanSociety of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-ConditioningEngineers when discussing ventilation changes with HVACprofessionals.Wipe down each piece of equipment before and afteryou use it, using a fresh wipe each time, and disposeof the wipes appropriately.If fans such as pedestal fans or hard-mounted fans are usedin the facility, take steps to minimize air from fans blowingdirectly from one person toward another. If fans are disabledor removed, employers should remain aware of possible heathazards and take steps to mitigate them.Wash your hands before and after you leave thefacility. If it is not possible to wash your hands, usehand sanitizer when you enter and before you leave.5

If you get the urge to sneeze or cough, put on yourmask (if not already wearing one) and cover yournose, mouth and mask with a napkin or handkerchief.Wash your hands and face thoroughly beforereturning to your activity.The facility has the right to refuse service to anyoneexhibiting symptoms or not following facilityguidelines.Consider a wellness screening with brief questions formembers to enter the facility. For example:Have you, or has a person you have been in closecontact with, been diagnosed with COVID-19 withinthe last 14 days? (Close contact is defined as six feetor less for more than 10 minutes.)Have you experienced any cold- or flu-like symptomsin the last 72 hours (including fever, shortness ofbreath, cough, sore throat or difficulty breathing)?Post signage on the front door letting members know aboutchanges to your policies and instructing them to stay away ifthey are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.Encourage members to use touchless payment options whenavailable. Minimize handling cash, credit cards, reward cardsand mobile devices.Employee training, support and communicationUse routine meetings and emails to communicate withworkers about actions being taken to prevent COVID-19exposure.Provide instruction and training to employees on topicsincluding:How to clean their work clothing properly at homeif laundry service is not providedHow to safely put on and emove glovesCleaning and disinfecting surfaces accordingto product specificationsCorrect use of face masks or coveringsPhysical distancing guidelines and ways tocommunicate them to membersEmployee illness reportingInstall handwashing or sanitizing stations (with at least 60%alcohol if offering hand sanitizer) at the entrance to yourbusiness and encourage members to use them.Train employees on how to recognize areas or practices thatpose a risk for spreading the virus.Staff should visibly carry out proper sanitation practicesand should actively encourage members to follow thesepractices.Define a process to quickly review concerns and providemitigation strategies in these areas. Include a recognizing/reporting module in your COVID-19 response plan.Remove all unnecessary touchpoints, especially those thatcannot be sanitized.Consider assigning one or more employees to monitorcompliance with workplace guidance.Use disposable instead of reusable items wheneverpossible. Provide adequate trash receptacles, and increasetrash removal frequency to accommodate additional waste.Post signage to remind your employees of safe practices,such as distancing, hand hygiene and cough/sneeze etiquette.Discourage members from touching items they don’t intendto purchase.Business operationsCommon-use areas (such as changing rooms, lounge areas,courtesy food and beverage bars, and child play areas) shouldbe closed if it is not possible to maintain social distancing andfollow proper sanitizing practices.The facility must maintain adequate records of its members,including names, telephone numbers and visit dates, toassist if contact tracing becomes necessary. The facility mustalso maintain accurate work records of its staff for contacttracing purposes.Additional resourcesCDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers toPlan and Respond to COVID-19: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019CDC General Business Frequently Asked Questions:www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019American Industrial Hygiene Association Back to Work Safely webpagewith guidance for gyms and workout facilities as well as other sectors:www.backtoworksafely.orgU.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration Guidanceon Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19: www.osha.govIN PARTNERSHIP WITH WISCONSIN’S REGIONALECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS:7 Rivers Alliance CentergyMadison RegionEconomic PartnershipMilwaukee 7Momentum WestProsperity Southwest Grow North The New NorthVisions Northwest5.7.2020

specific business type. Gyms and fitness facilities are faced with many challenges that must be addressed before reopening, including employee training and protection, minimizing the risk of transmission in the facility, and protecting customers. This document is designed to address

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