To go to gym, or not? Health clubs have strict measures in place to ensure safety

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  • Experts agree that large gatherings, especially indoors, are still to be avoided
  • Health clubs, however, have measures in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 
  • Therefore, although health club activities take place indoors, transmission of Covid-19 in these settings is rare

As we reach the end of the second wave of coronavirus infections, large gatherings are still not allowed – and with good reason.

The government and experts have repeatedly warned about the dangers of large gatherings, especially indoors, and how these can contribute to the spread of the virus.

While most health clubs have activities that are conducted indoors, new data show that members of such clubs need not be afraid and should look forward to the benefits of exercise during this time.

Health clubs are NOT hotspots

The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), an organisation that promotes the health and fitness industry, gathered information from various studies, suggesting that global transmission rates of Covid-19 in health clubs is rare.

Health and fitness brand, Planet Fitness South Africa, went a step further by researching transmission at health clubs in South Africa, in order to compare it to global data. 

“South Africa is seeing the same trend as the UK, Australia and the United States, which shows that with high levels of sanitation, constant communication, new behaviours, protocols and risk mitigation in place, health and fitness clubs are safe and low risk for contracting Covid-19,” said one of the brand’s representatives, Gillian Elson.

While completely controlling the spread of the virus is not entirely possible at this point, evidence of low transmission rates and compliance with government regulations by these institutions should help ease some pandemic-related stress.

Protocols at well-known health clubs

Due to mandatory protocols set in place by the government, health clubs have rules set in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19.  

Health24 asked popular health club, Virgin Active, which safety protocols they have in place. A representative of the brand, Nikki Cockcroft stated: “Strict health and hygiene measures were outlined and implemented for re-opening in August 2020 and are still applicable, including screening and sanitising upon arrival.

Under Level 3, capacity restrictions are in place, but members are able to monitor capacity online to plan their visit. Masks are compulsory unless someone is undertaking vigorous activity.”

“Our screening, hygiene and social distancing protocols have been designed based on proven international best practice and endorsed by the Department of Health. Our large clubs with state-of-the-art ventilation systems offer the ideal indoor environment.”

“We have increased the size of our cleaning teams, and they sanitise equipment on a continuous basis. That said, we do need everyone to do their bit to ensure a safe environment. Everyone is requested to use the disinfectant spray and paper towel to wipe down the equipment before and after use for their own peace of mind as a consideration for the next person who will use it.”

Health24 also visited the Zone Fitness website, and found that they have the following regulations in place:

  • Members must sanitise and have their temperature taken before entering the club.
  • Masks must be worn upon entering and leaving the club and may only be removed during vigorous exercise.
  • Physical distancing is to be maintained and members are urged to stay home if they have any of the known symptoms of Covid-19.
  • Sanitation stations have been made available for hands and equipment.

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