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Here are the COVID-19 operating guidelines you've been waiting for: government publishes standards for gyms, spas and sport

By Tom Walker    13 Jul 2020
The guidance has been divided into 10 separate areas and includes advice on social distancing / Shutterstock.com/Jacob Lund

Following its announcement that grassroots sport could restart on 11 July and that gyms and spas could also reopen during July, the government has published operational guidance for those working across the reopening sectors.

The set of documents has been designed for operators and providers of all types of facilities and activities – as well as their representative bodies, employees and volunteers.

It sets out guidance on how to work, operate and participate in exercise, sport and leisure activities safely, while minimising the risk of spreading COVID-19. The advice note also gives practical guidance on how this can be applied in a gym/leisure facility or area of sport.

"Each business or organisation will need to translate this into the specific actions it needs to take, depending on the nature, size and type of business, how it is organised, operated, managed and regulated," the advice reads.

The guidance has been divided into 10 separate areas:

1. Thinking about risk

2. Keeping customers and users of facilities safe3. Who should go to work/volunteer

4. Social distancing5. Ventilation of indoor facilities

6. Cleaning7. PPE and face coverings

8. Workforce management9. Inbound and outbound goods

10. Further guidance

As well as general advice, the guidance provides specific instructions and advice on aspects deemed high risk.

"Sports and gym/leisure facilities span many different simple and complex environments, where careful risk assessment of both the venue and activity is required to manage social distancing and effective infection control," the guidance states.

"Particular attention will need to be paid to clients using areas such as hydrotherapy pools – and the assistance they may need in doing so."

Among the guidance is the advice that all facilities should keep the use of changing rooms and wash facilities to a minimum.

"All venues should encourage attendees to arrive at the facility in sports kit and, where possible, to travel home to change and shower," the advice reads.

"Use of changing rooms and showering facilities should, in general, be avoided where possible, although these must be available for participants with disabilities or special needs and are likely to be needed after swimming."

There is also a recommendation to "keep voices down", which could have an impact on group fitness classes – especially high-energy ones that rely on a vocal instructor.

"All venues should ensure that steps are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other," the guide states.

"This includes – but is not limited to – refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting, including if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult.

"This is because of the potential for increased risk of transmission, particularly from aerosol and droplet transmission."

Published by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the guidance applies to England.

To access and read the guidance in full, click here:

Government  gyms  COVID-19  Department for Business 
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