Though the government gave gyms and fitness centres across most states a green signal in early August, we decided to take a few additional weeks before opening our centres. The reason for which is — every physical fitness centre has always had detailed SOPs and guidelines regarding hygiene and safety. Given the current situation, reopening to us meant revisiting each pointer of our SOPs to ensure that we are not putting our users and staff at risk. And, to make sure this was done with utmost accuracy, we had to come up with a detailed plan for structured execution. While we know that many of you are ecstatic about coming back, we also understand you might have concerns related to how safe it really is. Also, a few of you who have already been to the centres might have questions about the changes that you witnessed in our fitness centres. So, here is a detailed account of the 8 guiding principles we used to reopen our centres safely, alongside the reasons why we believe each of these principles is important: 1. Access Control at the CentresAs obvious as it seems, knowing the health status of each individual before letting them inside the fitness centre significantly helps curb the spread of COVID-19. It also helps us keep our staff and trainers safe. Additionally, we use a high-frequency symptom checking and recording system for our trainers and staff to detect even the slightest of symptoms promptly and to take necessary actions accordingly.The pre-requisites to allow anyone into our fitness centre include:

  • We encourage the usage of Arogya Setu app for the users to be aware of their status and their contacts
  • Body temperature within the normal range;
  • And, wearing a mask.

2. Batch Isolation

To enable easy isolation and easy tracing in the event of an infection, it is important to reduce contact as much as possible. We do this by:

  • Controlling batch sizes — The current batch size is about 50% lesser
  • Allotting each batch a unique exit and entry time to avoid contact with the previous/the next batch
  • We ensure there’s enough time to sanitize the waiting room thoroughly for the new batch given the reduced class duration. This helps lower the risk and also helps making the classes available to more members

3. Social Distancing within the Classes

Social distancing is currently the new norm. Hence, we must maintain it at all times to eliminate COVID-19 spread via droplets (sneezing/coughing). Our social distancing strategies inside the fitness centres include:

  • Boxes on the floor marked out with tape indicating where an individual should stand when working out. The adjacent boxes are left empty to further strengthen the social distancing measures.  
  • Floor marked ‘waiting’ boxes for the usage of machines like treadmill, elliptical, etc. at gyms.
  • “In-Use” machines at gyms that are placed nearly 6ft apart.

4. Surface Decontamination in-between Classes

Surface decontamination at high frequencies is essential to eliminate surface-aided transmission. To ensure the safety of our staff, trainers and users, we have taken the following steps:

  • Shoe sanitization at the entry point along with hand sanitiser stations. We have also installed a no-touch attendance marking system.
  • One decontamination cycle for every batch. This is also the primary reason for our current shorter batch timings. However, it helps us keep the facility safe while making the facility available to most of our users. At the same time, it also performs batch isolation as explained earlier.
  • Using Benzalkonium Chloride 0.1% solution that helps kill 99.9% pathogens within 5 minutes of contact.
  • Using easy to clean equipment such as kettlebells and dumbbells and avoiding the use of high-contact equipment like punching bags, as of now.
  • Additionally, self-serve decontamination options are made available to every user and staff member.

5. Ventilation

We constantly run dilution ventilation which enables the easy flow of fresh air into and out of the fitness centres. This step is considered important in controlling aerosolized COVID-19 transmissions. Hence, fresh air supply and exhaust are always kept on within the centres and 0% of air recirculated.

6. No Social Gatherings within the Facility

To keep the area safe, and to maintain the social distancing and batch isolation principles, we currently restrict close proximity activities such as group hugs and selfies. We also restrict food and drinks consumption within the facility

7. Respiratory Tract Protection within Centres

We know that a lot of you have concerns related to whether you should be wearing a mask within the centre. Given the risk of low oxygen levels during high-intensity workouts, we have kept this optional for the users and trainers as of now.  However, our staff would be equipped with face masks, face shields, and gloves at all times.

8. Restricting Services to Work-Out-Only

To reduce the contact and aggregation/meeting points within the centres, we currently don’t offer a shower & changing room facility and water dispensers. We also discourage equipment sharing and request the users to bring their own water bottles, towels, yoga mats, boxing gloves, etc. The washroom usage is restricted to one person at a time. Now that you have a better idea about our guiding principles, please feel free to voice out anything you want us to know in the comments section. We are super thrilled to have you all back! #WeAreCult

Oct 15, 2020

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