Dave Johnson, W.I.T.S. Curriculum Director
As many of you are aware, the world is currently battling a new pandemic, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As of the publication of this post, there are over 100,000 confirmed cases across the globe and over 500 cases in the United States. Most public health experts anticipate continued spread throughout our communities and many people are choosing to stay home rather than continue their normal routines – which includes visiting their fitness facilities.
We’ve put together some tips to help navigate these difficult times. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out – we are here to help you!
- Increase hygienic protocols
Your facility should already be wiping down equipment at the end of each business day (at a minimum) but now is the time to bump that frequency up to at least three times per day. Consider investing in hospital-grade disinfectant and increase the number of times you clean equipment. Alcohol solutions with at least 70 percent alcohol should be effective against the coronavirus, according to the CDC and here’s a comprehensive list of viable disinfectants from the EPA.Also, make sure your locker rooms and restrooms are fully stock with hand soap and paper towels.
- Be mindful of high-touch areas
Take a walk around your facility and note how many areas are likely to be contacted by your clients’ hands. COVID-19 cannot be spread through sweat but it can be left on surfaces or objects that come in contact with hands. It is currently unknown how long the virus is viable on surfaces.Doorknobs, dumbbells, barbells, and handles are all prime examples of items that receive high touch-traffic throughout the day. If you are running a group fitness class, wipe down everything after each class.
- Encourage client participation
Increase the availability of both hand sanitizer and disinfectant in your facility. Your job becomes much easier if your clients buy in to the sanitization process.Post additional signs encouraging people to wipe down their equipment after each use and be sure to mention hand-contact areas. Some facilities are allowing clients to bring their own wipes, as well.
- Decrease hands-on activities
Do you love shaking hands with your clients or do you offer a hands-on training style? Do you currently offer classes that are high in the potential for skin-to-skin contact? Consider cancelling them for the time being. Any skin-to-skin contact increases the likelihood of transmission.
- Increase your client communication
Be proactive and reach out to your clients now. Send out an email blast and/or post on social media the steps your facility is taking to combat the spread of COVID-19. Assure your clients that their safety and well-being is your number one concern and you’re taking all the appropriate steps to maintain a safe training space.This message should also remind your clients that, if they are feeling ill, they should stay home and rest.
- Get staff on board
If you currently manage a staff, make sure they are on board with your sanitization procedures. If you’re able to, consider dedicating at least one staff member per hour to be visible in the facility cleaning the equipment. Not only does it keep your facility clean but it also provides peace of mind to your clients who physically see your efforts.