How to Reopen Gyms and Workout Facilities During COVID-19

As shelter-in-place and stay-at-home restrictions begin to lift, many people hope to access gyms and workout facilities to support their overall well-being and physical health.

Although credible health resources have found that COVID-19 is not spread through sweat, there is a potential of spreading the virus through the use of shared items and frequently touched surfaces, meaning that a strict disinfection process is critical for ensuring safety of gym members and employees.

Aside from these disinfection considerations, gym and workout facility owners face a multitude of other questions and unique challenges when reopening their facilities, including:

  • How can we protect our employees and gym members from COVID-19?
  • What do we do if a staff member or gym member is sick or not following COVID-19 safety guidelines?
  • How can we minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 while using shared gym equipment and facilities like showers and locker rooms?
  • Can group fitness classes still be hosted, and how can we enable social distancing in a gym setting?
  • Should a gym pool, hot tub, or sauna stay open during COVID-19?

With these questions in mind, AIHA has created this “Back to Work Safely: Guidance for Gyms and Workout Facilities, 2nd edition” guide to offer practical advice for how to safely reopen a gym, health club, fitness center, or other workout facilities during COVID-19. The guidance borrows from the latest advice given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as expert advice from other leading health, government, and fitness organizations.

These reopening guidelines share actional steps and recommendations to protect workout facility workers and gym members, including information on the following key areas:

  • What should a gym or workout facility owner do to protect their employees and members?
    • Physical distancing best practices, including advice for how to arrange equipment like treadmills and stationary bicycles
    • Potential alterations to how members can access the gym, including an online sign-up system with sessions of a set duration
    • Barriers and other ways to encourage physical distancing of gym members
    • Which gym facilities should be closed, including advice on basketball courts, pools, hot tubs, and saunas
    • Best practices for juice bars, food service areas, and water fountains
    • Enhanced cleaning and ventilation protocols to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 in a gym
    • Staff member wellness monitoring, including the potential use of questionnaires to assess the health of your team
    • How to keep gym employees and members safe in common areas like restrooms, showers, and locker rooms
    • Recommendations on signage and other communications to update gym members and employees on the latest protocols and safety measures
  • What should a gym employee or gym member do to minimize the transmission of COVID-19?
    • Self-monitoring best practices
    • Recommended PPE for gym employees and gym members
    • Tips to reduce the time spent in a gym or workout facility to avoid lingering or unnecessary socializing
    • When to stay at home instead of using a gym or workout facility

Download our “Back to Work Safely: Guidance for Gyms and Workout Facilities, 2nd edition” guidance document today to learn how to safely reopen and use a gym or workout facility during COVID-19.