As Americans emerge from their safe-at-home cocoons over the next several weeks, many will make their first trip to their gym in two months. Things will obviously be different, but many will not know exactly what to expect until they arrive. Gyms and recreation centers across America are outlining their plans for post-Covid-19 right now in preparation of opening their doors before summer is out.
At their core, gyms and workout facilities truly are just a bigger version of a Petri dish. Facility cleaning and patron-limiting protocols will be the mandate of the day for those that wish to open soon and remain open.
One of the easiest ways to maintain social-distancing guidelines at workout facilities is by simply limiting the number of staff and the number of patrons allowed in the door. Some states that have eased stay-at-home guidelines by allowing gyms to open for one-on-one personal training sessions. While that worked for smaller or independent gyms, bigger facilities will likely look to skip over that step as they allow people back in the building.
Some of the more obvious strategies include taking every other machine in the cardio area out of service, to keep patrons at least six feet apart. Another is to reduce the amount of people allowed to attend fitness classes.
Along with those guidelines, other gyms are looking at how guests could schedule their workout times. Gyms would allow a safe number of people to book their workout time no more than 24 in advance for a 90-minute block of time. When that time block is over, all patrons are asked to leave the gym. The workout areas would then be cleaned by staff, and the gym would open again after a short amount of time for the next group of scheduled guests.
Cleaning of machines and equipment is usually handled on an honor system basis. In the past, when you were done working out, each patron was responsible for wiping down each piece of equipment.
As gyms reopen, look for that to change drastically. No workout facility will be able to leave cleaning in the hands of their guests. Gyms will need to have a plan in place for staff cleaning with approved chemicals. Keeping the public at large safe and healthy in their facility will take on a brand-new importance.