Club Safety During Coronavirus Concerns
With heightened awareness and concern over coronavirus and its spread, it’s likely in the club industry, we’ll all see increasing member concern, anxiety and hear questions. The first thing to note is that at present clubs and gyms represent a fairly low risk of infection spread if appropriate practices are followed. Websites like IHRSA.org include excellent recommendations for reassuring members of safety protocols, but here’s a quick overview of things we can all do to stay informed and safe while we workout.
The novel or new Coronavirus is spread by close contact with an infected person or with an infected surface. Droplets in a cough or sneeze can infect a person in close proximity (within six feet) and it’s believed the virus may survive on surfaces for anywhere between two hours to nine days. That all may sound scary, but at this time the virus is spreading primarily only by close contact with an infected person and there are a little more than 1,000 cases across the country. Proper handwashing and top-of-mind safety tips can help limit its spread.
Club Cleaning – Equipment and High Touch Surfaces
All club operators practice intensive cleaning and hygiene as a matter of course, but during these times it’s a good idea to increase the frequency of sanitizing surfaces. The virus isn’t transmitted through sweat (some great news) but it can be via dumbbells, handles and other equipment surfaces. Encourage members to wipe down their equipment before and after use with provided disinfectant wipes and ensure all equipment is cleaned regularly with an approved cleaner that contains 70% alcohol to volume. Sanitizing should also include high-touch, high-traffic surfaces like counters, touch screens and door handles. Make hand sanitizer available to members if it’s possible in your area, given current shortages.
Many clubs are actively encouraging members to wash their hands well and often. Proper washing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds or more is important. It’s also a good idea to remind members to stay home if they feel sick (many are committed to their workouts no matter what) and to cough or sneeze into an elbow or a tissue if they do feel the need.
Staff and Communication.
Instructors should also alter their behavior – avoiding high fives, handshakes with class attendees and no personal contact for things like form correction in class. When there’s uncertainty over anything, there should also be a lot more communication. Posted signs, website updates, social media content and talking points for staff are all a good idea to ensure members get their questions answered and understand safety is always a priority.