Stopping The Spread Of Germs In Your Facility
Don’t put away the tissues and hand sanitizer just yet! Even though spring is around the corner and the weather is warming up, cold and flu season is still in full swing. With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus, experts are recommending citizens ramp up their hand-washing habits, stop touching their face, and avoid crowds if necessary to halt the spread of this virus.
With this advice, many have avoided exercise facilities due to fear of contracting—or spreading—illness. So how do you promote healthy habits at your facility, and keep your members feeling confident that they can visit your fitness center? Here is our list of tips you can communicate to members to keep them happy and healthy.
Encourage Frequent Hand Washing
The first cardinal rule of fighting off illness in the thick of cold season is to wash your hands well and often. Most of us were taught to wash our hands for 30 seconds in warm, soapy water, but are pressed to admit that we don’t follow these routines as stringently as experts would like.
Usually, it's advised to sing Happy Birthday while washing you hands to ensure you've done a thorough enough job. However, if you would like a list of more contemporary hits, here is a list of songs to sing while washing your hands. Humming is acceptable, too, if you’re self-conscious of your singing.
Make Hand Sanitizer Accessible
Hand sanitizer is a great alternative if you can’t wash your hands right away, and a good habit to get into if you want to stop germs in their tracks. In the face of hand sanitizer shortages across North America, many of us have now have found that you took alcohol-based anti-bacterial gels for granted.
If you haven’t already, install hand sanitizing stations throughout your facility, and keep them filled as often as possible. Making hand sanitation more accessible in your space will have wonderful benefits for you, your team and your members.
Promote Anti-Bacterial Spray In Your Facility
If you operate a gym, you likely already have a few bottles of anti-bacterial spray and stockpiles of paper towels scattered across your facility, which is great! However, some people may skip this step when using equipment, seeing it as tedious and time-consuming. Instead, they may need to see the benefits of spraying equipment down, and why they need to incorporate this into their routine.
Let members know that anti-bacterial spray isn’t just a common courtesy, but also a great way to prevent the transmission illness-causing bacteria to their skin, which stays there until they wash their hands or shower.
Speaking of showers …
Ensure Your Showers Are Routinely Cleaned
Of course, you already take care in cleaning your facility, but the washrooms need exceptional amounts of attention when it comes to preventing illness transmission. Damp spaces such as showers and washrooms can quickly turn into a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. With so many people in and out of showers during the day, it doesn’t take long for the showers to enter a state of eternal dampness for the day.
Unfortunately, you don’t get many opportunities to clean the shower until after the facility has closed. If you have more than one washroom in the facility, you may have the chance to close showers for cleaning and leave them to dry; but facilities with one washroom each aren’t so lucky.
To get around this, there are other options. For the short-term, you can encourage guests to wear sandals in the bathrooms, or even provide sandals upon request. Remind guests that your facility is, of course, thoroughly clean, but that you want them to prevent bacteria transmission early on. For the long term, you can install bamboo grates on the shower floor so that water can drain and there is a dry barrier between guests’ feet and the floor.
Encourage Clients To Bring Their Own Equipment
While many of us aren’t immediately enthusiastic about a bring-your-own-equipment model at the gym, there are many benefits to promoting members to do this. For starters, there are many strains of bacteria that are easily transmitted between people through face towels, and while most recreation facilities take care and discretion to keep things clean, it never hurts to use your own items and know they have been scrubbed clean.
We recommend supporting guests in bringing their own towels, yoga mats, yoga blocks, resistance bands, and any other small pieces of equipment that don’t take up too much room. As far as bringing your own dumbbells, barbells, or kettle bells, we don’t think that’s necessary if the equipment is cleaned off each time.
Offer Incentives For Gym-Goers Who Show Up At Off-Peak Hours
For many people, the biggest reason they skip on the gym during an outbreak is because of their fear of being stuck in close quarter with other people—especially is one of those people is sick. Because of this, many public places in bustling cities have become ghost towns.
If your members have concerns about contacting an illness from going to the gym while it’s busy, give them an offer for going at a less-busy time, such as additional add-ons or allowing them to bring a friend for free. This may help your members feel more inclined to instead work in a new daily routine instead of throwing out their workout schedule altogether—which is a great thing!
Install A Water Bottle Fill-Up Station
When you look around a recreation facility, there are many spaces, nooks, and crannies where bacteria can thrive. Many illnesses are transmitted through bacteria in your mouth, and these bacteria can even be transmitted from your mouth, to a surface, to someone else’s mouth. Traditional water fountains are a hot spot for spreading bacteria from person to person, and in recent years, many designers have worked on new models that reduce that risk.
Instead, consider installing a water bottle refill station. Not only does this cut down on bacteria transmission, it also encourages your members to cut down on waste and bring a refillable water bottle. It’s a win for everyone!
Reiterate The Importance Of Exercise For Good Health
The truth is that exercise has been shown to actually help boost the immune system, and everyone looking to fend off illness should be incorporating regular exercise into their routine. For more tips to engage with your community of members, follow our blog at blog.xplorrecreation.com!