COVID-19 – A framework for the safe re-opening of Model Health Performance during social distancing
This framework is aligned to the Government document, ‘Working safely during Coronavirus – Providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities’, and has been updated as a ‘how to’ guide – providing specific and practical steps to support these facilities in meeting the Government requirements as a bare minimum.
This document sets out the framework for opening gym and leisure facilities during an anticipated period of “social distancing” following the full closure of the sector due to COVID-19. It also provides the basis for individual operators to develop their own required technical operating guidance for customers, staff and supply chains once the Government has said facilities, or parts of facilities, can open.
The framework has been developed in full partnership with the major fitness and leisure operators, and has been reviewed by leading medical experts. It has also been informed by best practice from international markets where governments are at different stages of managing the COVID-19 crisis, and working with their own fitness sectors.
The gym and fitness industry will have a vital role in ensuring the ongoing health and wellbeing of the nation following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. We believe this role has never been more important than at the current time in helping the country and British society regain its health. The Government realises how important ‘exercise’ is, and as the Chief Medical Officer stated: There is no situation, no age, no condition, where exercise is not a good thing.
It is not intended to be exhaustive in covering every possible scenario but aims to provide a clear direction of travel for the sector. Nor is it intended to cover all aspects of every operator: there will be special undertakings for those with specific offerings. Operators can make their own decisions and can go above the standards within this document, but not lower. We are tailoring this as a two-stage opening approach – this document looks at the initial opening period and anticipated social distancing restrictions.
- Public Health England (PHE) or equivalent posters will be on display informing customers and staff of social distancing and cleanliness/hygiene protocols throughout the facility
- We will commit to the wellbeing of our staff and customers, and if they show/have any signs of COVID-19 (temperature, cough and difficulty breathing), they will be sent home to follow Government regulations
- We will comply with any health designation documentation that the Government implements
- Gym users should arrive for their class as close to the time of their class as possible, recommended 5 mins before. We do have social distancing controlled seating, but we want to avoid any crowding.
- Hand wipes/sanitisers will be on offer (or people will be directed to where they can clean their hands)
- We will ensure that social distancing is adhered to, further criteria is below for certain areas
- Face masks will not be mandatory for staff, unless their role requires this
- It is down to the individual customer to take reasonable personal responsibility when taking part in physical activity
- We will maintain a commitment to the Equality Act 2010 and legal obligations to ensure that the decisions made in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19), we will not discriminate against customers or staff with protected characteristics
- We will employ one way people flow systems to reduce congregation in any area of the facility, where possible
- We will have a process in place to retain contact details for 21 days (in-line with GDPR legislation)
- Markings will be put round machines or workout benches to denote social distance areas, where appropriate.
- We will continue rigorous cleaning procedures
- If there is a COVID-19 case in the facility, we will follow the PHE Guidance – COVID-19 Cleaning in non-healthcare settings while cleaning all areas of the facility
- Staff will carry out regular cleaning of high-contact touch points throughout the premises.
- Hand wipes/sanitisers will be on offer (or directed to where people can clean their hands)
- Gloves are not mandatory as the World Health Organisation (WHO) advice is that it is preferable not to wear gloves but to regularly wash your hands
- Processes to make sure social distancing remains in place for reception staff/or screens are in place
- Queue management – markings on the floor and if necessary outside the entrance.
Changing Rooms / Showers / Toilets
- We will promote that customers should come swim or gym ready, where appropriate
- Extra care/signposting will be provided to maintain social distancing when in these areas
- Lockers will remain in use, as long as social distancing can be maintained
- Spray and cloths will be available for customer use for touch points
- Only equipment that is spaced far enough apart to maintain social distancing (2m) will be used – as an example this can be done via moving equipment or marking every other piece of equipment in the gym out of order
- Users should not be working out face to face
- Touch points of equipment should be cleaned after use – this can be done either by the customer or staff using spray and cloths provided. is is in addition to the cleaning schedule
- Extra signage regarding social distancing will be in place around the free-weights area
- Maximum gym capacity will be based on 3m2 per person
- Social distancing guidelines must be followed
- There will be a minimum of a 10-minute window in between classes, so no ‘waiting around’ in groups
- Equipment (including mats etc) will be cleaned in between use. This can either be done by the customer or staff member using spray and cloths provided.
- No equipment will be shared during the classes, without pairs having and using sanitising spray after each use
- If possible, markings will be made on the floor to show the area for individuals.
- Additional signs will be put up around cleanliness and social distancing
- Vending machines will remain in use but will be cleaned regularly
- Government Guidance for food businesses on COVID-19 will be followed.
- Social distancing and cleanliness will be promoted when booking online
- Social distancing and cleanliness will be promoted by the instructor(s) at the beginning and throughout classes
- Group classes will be organised in a series of formations to comply with social distancing, with appropriate spacing between participants monitored by the instructor throughout the class
- Nothing will be passed to/from the instructor to the customer – including personal items, water bottles, bibs etc
- Customers should not cluster in groups before/after sessions
- Operators will follow the HSE guidance on ‘first aid requirements in non-healthcare settings
- The Resuscitation Council UK has provided specific guidance on CPR delivery
- A target ventilation rate of 20l/s/p is advised for facilities. This can either be attained through adjustments to ventilation systems themselves, or by controlling numbers (based on 100sqft per person, net usable indoor space available to members to use, including changing rooms) and using natural ventilation
- Ventilation systems should provide 100% fresh air and not recirculate air from one space to another
- Increasing the existing ventilation rate by fully opening dampers and running fans on full speed
- Operating the ventilation system 24 hours a day
- Increase the frequency of filter changes
- In the absence of known ventilation rates, a carbon dioxide sensor shall be used as a surrogate indicator to switch on additional mechanical ventilation or open windows
- Further guidance is provided in CIBSE COVID-19 Ventilation Guidance.
- Operators to follow Government guidance for workplaces.
- Towels/’sweat towels’ will not be taken onto the gymfloor/into the studio
- Personal training sessions can continue as long as social distancing is in place
- Card/contactless payment will be promoted
- For further information regarding external qualifications/training, please contact your training qualification body
- Consider special provision for vulnerable groups using your facilities
- All contractors must follow social distancing and cleanliness guidelines
- Health consultations will remain if strict cleanliness of individuals and rooms is enforced and relevant PPE is worn (eg. in hospital, the patient simply wears a surgical mask and the doctor wears simple eye cover, a surgical mask an apron as full PPE is reserved for aerosol-generating procedures), or this could be done online
- For further details on volunteers please look at the Government document ‘Operating safely during COVID-19 for providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities’.
- Health and Safety checks pre-opening – eg. Legionella
- Training of staff in the above procedures
- We will commit to a level of communication to customers explaining the nature of re-opening, advising them of the responsibility they have regarding cleaning touch points, providing Q&A, and ultimately reassuring customers
- We have developed a risk assessment and operating plan covering all of the above and relevant other information.