While it is unclear when gyms will be able to reopen, they are nonetheless preparing to operate under the COVID-19 pandemic.
Virgin Active and Planet Fitness have taken several measures to ensure that when their gyms reopen, gymgoers will remain safe.
Both gyms explained their plans for post-lockdown operation to MyBroadband and provided photos of how their gyms had changed to curb the spread of the virus.
Virgin Active said that government is yet to provide guidelines that it must follow, but it expects some level of restrictions or conditions imposed upon it.
“Until we have a date from the government and know what their requirements are, we are prepping for all possible scenarios,” said Virgin Active.
If necessary, Virgin Active has prepared the capability to use a “book your slot” system, which would require members to book their gym sessions in advance.
Upon arrival at a Virgin Active gym, temperature checks will take place, and gymgoers will need to fill in a quick questionnaire regarding any possible symptoms. Members will be expected to wear a mask throughout their time at the gym.
Floor markings will be implemented to ensure that social distancing is maintained, and the capacity of the gym will continuously be monitored to ensure it does not have too many people exercising at one time.
Virgin Active’s health and hygiene team will ensure that all spaces are disinfected regularly and will follow hospital-level cleaning protocols for both sanitation and disinfection.
Sanitiser will be available at the entrance to all clubs and in various other locations, and clubs will have fresh, filtered air circulating on high frequency to ensure good ventilation.
Certain clubs, however – such as Club V and the sauna and steam rooms – will remain closed.
Virgin Active members will be asked to use paper towels and disinfectant spray to wipe down equipment instead of gym towels.
Group classes will allow fewer people per class to ensure social distancing and must be booked beforehand.
Virgin Active said debit orders will resume for members over the age of 18 once clubs are opened.
“Planet Fitness is working around the clock to adhere to government protocol around exercise and social distancing to ensure that when day one comes, we are ready to open and it will be safe to do so,” Planet Fitness told MyBroadband.
Planet Fitness said that it put in place several measures before the lockdown officially begun to ensure that its members were safe.
These included removing certain equipment from the floor and reducing the number of people allowed in the gym at any one time.
When it is allowed to open, Planet Fitness plans to implement the following measures to keep members safe:
- A pre-access station will be implemented where members will be met by a qualified nurse or COVID-19 compliance officer to have temperatures taken and to be checked against compliance requirements before being permitted to enter.
- 70% alcohol-based sanitizer and disinfectant products will be provided at the pre-access station and additional sanitising stations will be placed throughout the clubs.
- Masks will be compulsory.
- Numbers will be limited according to the size of the club and government regulations.
- Equipment has been moved out of clubs to ensure the required training distance between members.
- Every second piece of equipment has been disabled.
- Floor markings throughout the clubs will assist in social distancing
- There will be increased staff on the floor to sanitize the equipment and other areas continually throughout the day, particularly after use.
- Contact tracing will be available via member access records.
- Additional deep cleaning of the club and equipment will take place daily.
- Only every fourth locker in the change rooms will be in use – all other lockers will be disabled to comply with distancing rules.
- The numbers of attendees in group classes will be reduced.
“On top of these measures, we appeal to members to play their part and work with us to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus by taking their own proactive steps in practising good public hygiene to keep themselves and others safe,” Planet Fitness said.
Images of the anti-COVID-19 measures taken by Virgin Active and Planet Fitness are shown below.