How To Control Germs in Busy Fitness Centers
Gyms are designed to provide a well-designed space for physical fitness and health. They are meant for people to get in shape, workout, and congregate for classes and group workouts. In the current age of the COVID-19 pandemic, many fitness centers are either closed down, adjusting their practices, or working hard to find ways to keep their centers clean and safe for their patrons. Recommendations are always changing, and the current state of the virus and safety protocols should always be monitored. As a gym owner, manager, or worker, you should be constantly looking for guidelines, information, and more on how to control germs in busy fitness centers.
Make an Inventory of Equipment and Areas To Divide Into Sections
The first thing to do when thinking about germ control in a setting such as a fitness center is to take inventory of all equipment, areas, and other items. Dividing and conquering is the key to ensuring every inch and area is disinfected and germs are minimized.
Section off different areas and equipment items to better schedule in times to disinfect. Things should be disinfected after every use and on a schedule. While it’s not realistic to shut down the entire fitness center every hour, it’s feasible to shut down smaller sections throughout the hour for disinfection purposes. Disinfection is essential to germ control and minimization. Below are some examples of potential sections you can divide your disinfection schedules into.
Restrooms are a breeding ground for germs. Half the battle of minimizing germs in a restroom setting is getting patrons to wash their hands after using the bathroom. Putting up signs encouraging people to wash their hands and providing in-depth instructions on how to properly wash hands is critical to controlling the spread of germs.
Another consideration for restrooms are the toilets, handles, light switches, sinks, and hand dryers or towel dispensers. All of these items should be disinfected multiple times a day.
Ensure that there is plenty of soap and hand drying materials stocked in the bathroom to avoid missed hand washing or unnecessary shutdown of the facility.
Showers are another hotspot for germ spreading. Many fitness centers are choosing not to allow showering at their facility right now and plan to watch developments in germ control and health closely to decide when reopening showers is safe.
If your facility allows showers, it should limit the number of people who can be in the shower area at one time to control germ spreading. The shower should be disinfected after each use. Some facilities find it beneficial to station a trusted employee outside the shower room to monitor the number of people and ensure nobody showers before the facility has a chance to disinfect.
Changing Areas or Locker Rooms
Changing areas and locker rooms is another portion of most fitness centers that may still be restricted or closed. Some fitness centers are deciding to require their patrons to arrive in the clothes they plan to work out in and bring only what they need with them.
While this is what some businesses are doing, this isn’t feasible for many facilities. Many times, patrons don’t want to wear their outdoor shoes inside the gym or need to change before or after completing their workout. If your fitness center has changing areas or locker rooms that remain open, it’s essential to control the germs.
One way to control the germs in this setting is by limiting the number of people who are in the room at once. Disinfect after every group exits to limit the spread of germs between groups. For locker rooms, consider disinfecting keys, locks, handles, and the interior of the locker in between each use.
Reception Area and Help Desk
The reception area, help desk, and place where most patrons enter and exit can actually be full of germs, as this is where people enter from outside, bringing all the outside germs they acquired in with them. Consider placing hand sanitizing stations near the entrances, reception, and help desk areas to help control the spread of germs.
Disinfecting any items touched such as desks, countertops, door handles, doors, windows, pens, and other materials after each new person touches them is another great way to minimize germs.
The machines that a fitness center has are one of the main reasons people sign up for memberships. They are also teaming with germs after each use as people sweat when they work out.
To control the germs on these machines, encourage patrons to wipe down or disinfect the machines right after they are done using them. It may also be helpful to have a staff member disinfect the machines between uses as well.
Handheld and Smaller Items
Handheld and smaller items are also quite prevalent in a fitness center setting. These items include things such as:
- Free weights
- Yoga mats
- Workout mats
- Kettle bells
- Workout balls
There are more small and handheld items available at some fitness centers, and these are just a few examples.
No matter the type of smaller item your facility has, disinfecting them after each use is one way to reduce the potential presence of germs.
Other Stations and Rooms
Each facility is unique and offers different rooms, equipment, and experiences. Below are a few examples of other common stations, areas, services, and rooms a fitness center may have along with some brief recommendations for controlling germs.
Pools: Pools typically control germs through the use of proper chlorine levels in the water. Beyond this, encouraging patrons to bring their own towels, disinfecting handles, flooring, and any seating options is also encouraged.
Saunas: Saunas should be limited in the number of people who can enter at once. They should also be disinfected after each use. Timing and limiting sessions can help control this.
Group-Class Rooms: Many facilities are limiting or canceling group fitness classes. If you choose to continue with them, limit the number of people in a class, encourage each participant to bring their own water, mats, and materials, and disinfect the entire room and all equipment after each class.
For a simple and effective disinfection method, consider investing in a professional cordless backpack electrostatic sprayer. Baker Cleaning Solutions offers industry-leading options for quick and effective disinfecting solutions. While there are many places to learn more about how to control germs in busy fitness centers, sticking to CDC guidelines and focusing on disinfection is the safest option. Below are additional resources about controlling germs in busy fitness centers.