Sample COVID-19 Guidelines For Facilities & Studios: Fitness, Dance, Gymnastics, Martial Arts, Etc.
(Note: These guidelines were developed from CDC’s COVID-19 Employer Information For Gyms And Fitness Centers and various state and industry association sources. Facility specific additions, deletions, and changes to these guidelines should be made to address the needs of the specific activities at each facility. In addition, these guidelines should be modified to comply with state and local mandates and guidelines as regards COVID-19)
Last updated: 2-25-21
COVID-19 And Sports And Recreation Facilities & Studios
The primary mechanism of spread for COVID-19 is person-to-person through the air by way of respiratory droplets when people cough, sneeze, or talk. The virus can also spread by touching a contaminated facility surface or equipment and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
COVID-19 can sometimes cause serious illness or loss of life and the people most vulnerable are those ages 65 or older or people of any age with underlying medical conditions.
COVID-19 can be spread in sports and recreation facilities and studios due to heavy breathing during exertion and the frequent touching of facility surfaces and equipment. Employees, service providers, and participants may be vulnerable.
Due to these risks, sports and recreation facilities & studios are adopting and implementing return to activity guidelines such as the ones listed below to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 transmission.
Recent research in the sports & recreation context indicates that the primary mechanism of spread comes more from the air and to a lesser extent from contaminated surfaces and equipment. Continued vigilance should be given to surfaces and equipment but increased vigilance should be given to social distancing and mask wearing.
These are minimum guidelines to reduce COVID-19 transmission risks for staff, participants, parents/guardians, and spectators.
- COVID-19 Coordinator: Appoint a COVID-19 coordinator to oversee all aspects of the COVID-19 risk management plan including customization, implementation, monitoring, updates/changes, communications, staff training, regulatory compliance, documentation, and answering participant, parent/guardian and staff questions about COVID-19 concerns.
- State And Local COVID-19 Mandates Or Guidelines: In addition to these minimum guidelines, you should follow all state and local mandates and guidelines as regards COVID-19 and fitness facilities including but not limited to activity start dates and limitations on crowd sizes.
- Waiver / Release: An approved Minor waiver/release with COVID-19 language form should be signed by all parents and youth participants. An approved Adult Waiver/Release with COVID-19 language should be signed prior to participation by all facility staff who are employees, independent contractors, or volunteers.
- Signage: COVID warning signage should be conspicuously posted at entry, exit, and in bathrooms warning of COVID-19 risks and what steps can be taken to reduce such risks such as social distancing, use of face coverings, frequent hand washing and/or use of hand sanitizer, and enhanced risks to those with underlying conditions and over the age of 65.
- Distribution: This document should be emailed to all staff and participants/parents prior to participation. In addition, this document should be posted at facility entry, on the facility’s website and any applicable social media.
- Stay Home When Appropriate: Staff and parents/participants should stay home when they are showing signs of COVID-19, have a temperature, or have had close contact with a person with COVID-19.
- Virtual Classes, Moving To Larger Areas, Outdoor Sessions: If feasible, consider offering virtual classes for at home participation and move activities to larger areas or outdoors.
- Check In Stations: Staff at front desks should be separated from participants checking in by plastic shields and should institute a cashless policy requiring use of debit and credit cards where participants insert their own cards into readers.
- Check In Screening: A designated staff member should conduct check in questioning and observation of all staff, participants, parents/guardians, and other spectators about the existence of any COVID-19 symptoms including cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, diarrhea, feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, or known close contact with person who is lab confirmed to have COVID-19. Any concerns should result in denial of entry.
- Check In Temperature Screening (Optional unless required by law): A designated staff member should use an infrared non-contact forehead thermometer to take the temperature of all staff, participants, parents/guardians, and other spectators before they enter the facility. Any reading of 100.4 or higher should result in a denial of entry.
- Class Scheduling: If classes are being held, class times should be scheduled to allow one group to vacate the premises before the next group enters.
- Limit Parent/Guardian Presence: Request parents/guardians to wait in parking lot or limit to one per participant.
- No Congregation: Participants, parents/guardians, and other spectators should not congregate prior to check in and should stay in cars until right before check in and should avoid other groups that are leaving the facility. Participants and parents/spectators should quickly exit after the activity and go directly to their cars without congregating with others in common areas.
- If COVID Symptoms Exhibited At Facility Or During Event: If a staff member, participant, parent/guardian, or other spectator exhibits symptoms during an event, they should immediately be separated and sent home or to a health care facility depending on the severity of the symptoms.
- Duty To Disclose, Quarantine, And Return To Activity: If a staff member or participant has tested positive for COVID-19, exhibits symptoms but has not been tested, or has had close contact, such staff member or parent/guardian on behalf of participant must immediately notify the COVID-19 coordinator and must remain in quarantine until meeting state or CDC Criteria For Discontinuing Home Isolation. Return to activity should be cleared by the COVID-19 coordinator in accordance with CDC guidelines.
- Notification Of Third Parties: The COVID-19 coordinator should notify local health officials, staff, and family members of participants immediately of any lab confirmed case of COVID-19 for any staff member or participant while complying with local and state privacy/ confidentiality laws as well as with HIPAA and the Americans With Disabilities Act.
- Social Distancing: Staff, participants, parents/guardians, and other spectators not from the same household should by separated by 6 ft. whenever possible except in situations where instructor/student (ex: personal training, sports, dance, swimming) or participant/participant (ex: dancing, martial arts) must be in close proximity. For those activities that require close proximity between participants, assign a permanent partner for the entire session and the partners should practice social distancing as a unit.
- Limit Capacity: Limit capacity based on ability to spread out to meet social distancing of 6 ft. between participants.
- Traffic And Facility Equipment: Consider making foot traffic single direction. Rearrange equipment (ex: treadmill, bike, elliptical, stretching devices, weights, etc.) to be able to meet social distancing of a 6 ft radius between pieces of equipment.
- Participant Provided Equipment: Participants should bring their own equipment whenever possible such as mats, bands, rackets, balls, etc.
- Marking: Use floor markings to separate participants by 6 ft. whenever applicable.
- Seating Areas: Remove excess seating areas to discourage lingering.
- Hand Washing / Sanitizer Stations And Disinfectant Wipes: Hand washing stations and/or hand sanitizing stations (at least 60% alcohol) should be available throughout the facility for staff and participants. In addition, the facility should provide disinfectant hand wipes so that participants can wipe down their own equipment between use.
- Personal Hygiene: Staff, participants, parents/guardians, and other spectators should practice proper hygiene, wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, use hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol), abstain from touching their face (mouth, nose or eyes), and cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw tissue in the trash. In addition as a back up, staff and participants should carry their own hand sanitizer.
- Staff Face Coverings: Staff should wear face coverings whenever they are within 6 ft. of another staff member or participant.
- Participant Face Coverings: Participants are encouraged but not required to wear face coverings in close contact areas and situations where applicable so long as they don’t compromise their safety.
- Spectator Face Coverings: Parents/guardians and other spectators should to wear face coverings anytime they are on the premises.
- Facility Sanitation: The facility should practice routine disinfectant and sanitation of all high-contact areas such as desks, workstations, sign in pens, seats, railings, door knobs/handles, water fountains, and bathrooms. Deep cleaning should be performed after hours. See CDC guidance on cleaning and disinfecting your facility including what cleaning products to use and steps for safe disinfectant use. After developing a schedule, the facility should document what was sanitized, how sanitized, what chemicals or products were used, the time of sanitation, and who sanitized.
- Equipment Sanitation: Equipment such as weights, machine handles, mats, etc. should be wiped down with disinfectant wipes frequently by staff. Participants should be encouraged to clean equipment before and after every use.
- Ventilation: Adjust ventilation for maximum fresh air delivery levels at humidity of 40% to 60% and increase filter efficiency of HVAC units to highest levels. Consider portable HEPA filtration units for areas with poor ventilation. Any freestanding fans should be positioned in a way that does not direct air from one person to another.
- Pools: Follow CDC Considerations For Public Pools, Hot Tubs, and Water Playgrounds During COVID-19 as well as any state and local regulations.
- Child Care: Follow COVID-19 protocols established by state for child care facilities.
- Locker Rooms: Use of locker rooms should be discouraged by requesting participants to arrive dressed for activity. However, if they are to be used: disable every other locker to comply with 6 ft. social distancing guidelines; clean all high-touch surfaces in locker rooms every two hours; disable steam rooms and saunas; continue use of independent showers but sanitize between each use; discontinue use of communal showers except for rinsing before or after pool activity; and if towels are provided they must be stored in covered, sanitized containers and must be appropriately washed and sanitized after use.
- Rest Rooms: Small rest rooms should limit occupancy to one at a time. Larger restrooms should follow 6 ft social distancing guidelines and should include floor markers. Clean and sanitize frequently per regular schedules.
- Concessions: Concession staff should wear gloves and face coverings; practice social distancing whenever possible with co workers; frequently wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and after all potential contamination events; may use hand sanitizer (60% alcohol) but not as a substitute for hand washing; frequently sanitize all surfaces; mark off 6 ft. spacing for patron lines; and minimize handling of cash, credit cards, and mobile devices whenever possible.
- Water Fountains: Water fountains should be disabled but water bottle filling stations should be allowed. However, if the water bottle filling station requires pushing a button or lever, they should be disinfected between each use. Participants should be encouraged to bring their own marked water bottles.
DISCLAIMER AND HOLD HARMLESS/INDEMNIFICATION
THIS SAMPLE COVID-19 RISK MANAGEMENT PLAN IS MEANT TO PROVIDE GENERAL GUIDELINES AND EDUCATIONAL AWARENESS TRAINING AND IS NOT AN ALL ENCOMPASSING PLAN. THIS SAMPLE PLAN MAY CONTAIN INCORRECT INFORMATION OR MAY OMIT CRITICAL INFORMATION. EACH SPORTS ORGANIZATION SHOULD CONSULT OTHER SOURCES AND EXPERTS IN ORDER TO CUSTOMIZE THEIR OWN PLANS. NO LEGAL ADVICE IS BEING PROVIDED. THE PURPOSE OF THIS PLAN IS TO REDUCE THE RISK OF LIABILITY. THIS PROGRAM IS NOT A SAFETY PROGRAM AND DOES NOT GUARANTEE THE SAFETY OF STAFF, PARTICIPANTS, PARENTS/GUARDIANS, SPECTATORS, HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS OR OTHER THIRD PARTIES. SADLER AND COMPANY, INC.; DBA SADLER SPORTS & RECREATION INSURANCE DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL LIABILITY RESULTING FROM THE DISSEMINATION OF THIS PLAN. IN EXCHANGE FOR RECEIPT OF THIS INFORMATION, SPORTS ORGANIZATION AND ITS RESPECTIVE DIRECTORS, OFFICERS, ADMINISTRATORS, EMPLOYEES, VOLUNTEERS, AND INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS AGREE TO HOLD HARMLESS AND INDEMNIFY SADLER AND COMPANY, INC.; DBA SADLER SPORTS & RECREATION INSURANCE AND ITS RESPECTIVE DIRECTORS, OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES FOR ANY CLAIMS OF BODILY INJURY (INCLUDING ILLNESS OR SICKNESS), PROPERTY DAMAGE, PERSONAL INJURY (EX: SLANDER, LIBEL, FALSE IMPRISONMENT, ETC.), ADVERTISING INJURY, BREACH OF CONTRACT, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY VIOLATIONS OR OTHER DAMAGES (INCLUDING REASONABLE ATTORNEY’S FEES) TO THEMSELVES OR THIRD PARTIES.