A Guide to Reopening Gathering Areas Safely: Fitness Centers

With restrictions beginning to loosen throughout the country, many of our clients have been in search of protocols to put in place for reopening their common gathering areas.

It’s in preparation for reopening areas safely that we’re sharing a guide of protocol suggestions that may help you as you navigate to reopen your common gathering areas. Today’s gathering area of focus will be fitness centers.

Fitness Centers

Credit to our friends over at the IHRSA for breaking down their reopening plan in such a way that aligns well with our own approach to cleaning. 

In a similar approach, we’ll break down our reopening strategy for fitness centers as follows and include staffing in our Operations section:

  1. Containment
  2. Cleaning and Sanitation
  3. Operations

Containment

The containment aspect is a practical aspect of a reopening plan. It combines personal accountability with strategic operation geared towards protecting all building occupants. We recommend an in-depth list of containment strategies, including:

  • Occupant Limits: enforcing a limit to the number of people in the facility at one time that’s in compliance with regulatory recommendations.
  • Mask enforcement: In an area like a fitness center, where intense physical exertion is happening all of the time, there is naturally going to be heavy breathing and perspiration. To add a layer of protection, all occupants should be required to wear a mask. 
  • Social Distancing practices: Social distancing can be implemented in a plethora of ways throughout your health club, from blocking off machines to create separation between occupants, to rearranging the layout of the fitness center for better compliance. What approach you take is most influenced by the layout of your facility itself
  • Temperature checks: although imperfect, temperature checks are recommended in the reception area.
  • Disposable disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer stands: Although it varies how long coronavirus and other bacteria can live on surfaces, having disinfectant solutions such as disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer stands is a helpful resource to make available to your occupants so that they can better protect themselves.
  • Signage: It may sound like common sense, but we’ve seen in our own experience, the positive effect that signage has in reenforcing social distancing protocols and self-cleaning protocols. After all, these signs aren’t there to lecture, but rather in hopes of protecting the building’s occupants. We encourage you to invest in signage that reenforces the practices you’d like to see done on a consistent basis in your fitness center.

Cleaning and Sanitation

With a containment strategy in place, the next area of focus should be determining your strategy for cleaning and sanitation. A detailed cleaning and sanitizing strategy should consider the frequency of cleaning and sanitizing, which products will be used in those processes, and assess the fitness center for any areas that may create challenges down the road. Additionally, it’s in this step that you would consider any innovative improvements to your facility such as HVAC Upgrades, Ultraviolet Light, and other cutting-edge and emerging technology.

Operations

Your Operation Strategy will serve as the backbone of your entire reopening strategy. Operations includes anything from adjusting your hours of operation, to creating a staffing a plan, and even elevating the cleaning protocols in place through the implementation of Wellness Clean™.

With the help of our Wellness Clean™ Specialists, we’ll create a plan that’s customized to your facility’s needs. We accomplish this through implementing the following:

  • Increasing cleaning and disinfecting cadences.
    • With the in-flow of foot traffic throughout a facility as active as a fitness center, it’s vital to increase the frequency with which the facility is being cleaned and disinfected. 
  • Emphasizing high-traffic areas and common touch points.
    • Isolating on the areas that see the most movement and contact is crucial to the overall wellness of your facility.
  • Wellness Clean™ Specialist Team deployment and training.
  • Atmospheric Disinfection
    • Utilization of broad-spectrum disinfection technologies to increase the effectiveness of overall cleaning protocols:
      • Electrostatic Spraying
      • UV Devices
      • Other Properly Vetted Techonologies
  • ATP Testing
    • We recently released a blog post dedicated to the efficacy of ATP Testing in regards to measuring cleanliness and overall cleaning performance. 
  • Using EPA registered disinfectants.
    • What good is an improved strategy if the products you’re using to clean and disinfect don’t meet the criteria necessary? We’ve worked years on securing a supply chain of EPA registered disinfectants so that our clients are always covered. 
  • Providing additional staff .
  • Providing Supplemental Services to support your in-house staff.

Health in today’s environment has presented challenges that has left in-house cleaning staff in facilities across the country overwhelmed. We’ve developed recommended strategies to support you at your level of need, whether that be through a complete service plan or through supplemental services that help your pre-existing in-house staff.

To learn more about Wellness Clean™, visit us at https://aaefs.com/services/wellnessclean/ and contact us today to schedule a call with one of our specialists.

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