Earlier this week, the Alberta Government announced that Phase 2 of Alberta’s Economic Relaunch Plan would begin on Friday, June 12th. Gyms, sports, recreation, and fitness studios were among the businesses and organizations on the list that will be opening. This announcement came earlier than expected, and you might be scrambling to prepare your facility to open. Here are some tips to help you prepare:
The guidelines: what you need to know before opening
Sport and recreation are essential for both physical and mental health. Opening gyms and studios are part of the relaunch to help mitigate health risks outside of COVID-19. It is a balance. For owners, staff, and patrons to remain safe, strict public health guidelines are in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
There is a 15-page long document that outlines the health and safety guidelines that must be executed by gyms and fitness centres to open during Phase 2. This document covers guidelines for:
- Proper ventilation
- Cleaning and sanitation
- Physical distancing
- Controlling access
- Equipment requirements
- Hand hygiene for patrons and staff
- Food services guidelines
- Screening participants
- Modifying activities to accommodate the new requirements
- How to respond if someone shows symptoms of COVID-19
- and many other topics
Anyone attending the gym or fitness class requires screening to ensure they’re not ill, experiencing symptoms, have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, or has returned from international travel within the last 14 days.
Read the guidance carefully, as there are different guidelines in place for lower intensity activities compared to higher intensity activities, which are higher risk for spreading the virus.
Communication is vital for health and safety
If you’ve prepared your gym and studio to reopen according to the new guidelines, it is essential to properly communicate new policies and procedures to staff, volunteers, coaches, instructors, participants, and their guardians.
Anyone who enters or uses your facility must understand the risk of COVID-19 and what they need to do to mitigate risk. You can communicate this through your website, online registration forms, rental contracts, automated phone messages, social media, email campaigns, and other means.
Facilities must post signage and posters on location, at the door, and throughout your facility. Information on physical distancing requirements, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, cleaning and disinfecting practices should be on your posters. You can download information posters and fact sheets here.
If you’re not ready to open, don’t
Just because gyms and fitness studios have the green light, doesn’t mean you must open on Friday. Many organizations, including city-run recreational facilities and large non-profit recreational facilities, will not be opening on Friday. These organizations are not opening their facilities because they are not ready to meet the public health guidelines.
Your facility will need to be overhauled to meet the requirements stated on the public health guidelines. Reopening might have to rehire staff and retrain staff to operate within the public health requirements. Also, cleaning and sanitation supplies will have to be ordered and be ready to use before the doors open.
Reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19 in your facility by not opening if you’re not ready. Take the time necessary to prepare to meet health and safety guidelines. Proper preparation and careful execution of your operations will reduce risk. It will keep your staff and patrons safe, and help ensure gyms, studios, and recreational facilities can stay open for the long-term.
View the Alberta Government’s “Return to Sport, Physical Activity, and Recreation – Stage 2 Guidelines”