Gymnasiums and exercise facilities in 89 of Tennessee’s 95 counties will be able to re-open on Friday, May 1.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced the possible re-openings on Tuesday.
The six counties that are excluded from the governor’s announcement are those with locally run health departments: Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Shelby, and Sullivan.
The Tennessee Economic Recovery Group has announced guidelines for how gyms and exercise facilities can re-open safely as the state continues to try to control the spread of COVID-19, a contagious respiratory illness that can be deadly.
“Exercise is incredibly important for the physical and mental health of our population, and we want Tennesseans to have access to safe environments where they can exercise as appropriate,” Lee said in a press release. “These guidelines outline best practices in keeping with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and health experts for gyms to reopen in a way that will keep their employees and customers safe.”
In addition to strict adherence to CDC guidelines, the state recommends that gyms, fitness and exercise facilities, or substantially similar facilities and activities use measures that will protect consumers and employees, the press release said.
The full guidelines are posted online here, and they include:
Business Process Adaptations
- Restrict facility access to staffed hours only (i.e., any unmanned facilities must be manned) and limit facility occupancy to 50 percent of capacity as dictated by fire code (as such capacity is adjusted in consideration of closed areas of the facility pursuant to these guidelines);
- Mitigate exposure in the workplace by implementing social distancing guidelines and modify scheduling;
- Staff to conduct regular (i.e., every two hours) disinfecting of high-touch surfaces, equipment, and common areas of the facility using disinfectant cleaning supplies according to CDC guidelines;
- Close showers, locker rooms, and lockers until further notice. Ask customers to instead use small gym bags to store personal belongings; remind customers to appropriately monitor or secure such personal belongs or provide a secure area monitored by staff;
- Close all swimming pools, hot tubs, saunas and other recreational water or spa facilities;
- Close all basketball courts, racquetball courts, and other places where formal and informal group or team sports may occur;
- Any youth or adult team leagues or sports should remain closed;
- Only allow group fitness classes if classes can be completed in accordance with social distancing recommendations (including but not limited to: less than 50 percent capacity and with more than six feet of distance maintained between participants at all times; no shared equipment during the class; sufficiently adjusted class schedules to allow for deep cleaning between classes; martial arts and other contact activities should be completed without any person-to-person contact);
- Encourage all employees and customers to wear personal protective equipment when applicable, and recommend that customers wear a face covering (not N95 or medical masks, which should be reserved for healthcare workers);
- Adjust equipment layout and close or restrict access to equipment to maintain at least six feet of distance between equipment;
- Temporarily close water fountains, common areas, break rooms, check-in counters, where customers or employees may congregate. Encourage users to provide their own water;
- No self-service options (coffee bars, smoothie stations, and other forms of communal food in facilities). Food retail should follow restaurant guidelines;
- Ensure that staffing of facilities is sufficient to enable enhanced sanitization and cleaning measures;
- Screen customers for illness upon entry to the gym:
- Best practice: Temperature checks for every customer. Persons with temperatures above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit should not be permitted on premise;
- Minimum: Question customers regarding COVID-19 symptoms
- Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19?
- Are you experiencing a cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat?
- Have you had a fever in the last 48 hours?
- Keep doors and windows open where possible to improve ventilation;
- Post signs encouraging social distancing (visible to customers);
- Require that customers wash or sanitize their hands upon entering and leaving the facility;
- Require customers to clean equipment they come in contact with using disinfecting wipes before and after each use;
- Encourage customers to use only one piece of equipment at a time (i.e., no circuits or “super setting”) so that machines are cleaned after use;
- Consider limiting workout length to avoid unnecessary exposure, decrease congestion, and allow for additional sanitization;
- Recommend that persons more vulnerable or at-risk for COVID-19 as identified by the CDC—including those who are over the age of 65 or those who have chronic medical conditions—take extra precaution or refrain from use of the facility during Phase 1 of re-opening.
- Allow employees to work from home as much as possible;
- Screen all employees reporting to work for COVID-19 symptoms;
- Staff should wear face coverings (not N95 or medical masks, which should be reserved for healthcare workers) and other personal protection items as recommended by the CDC;
- Provide training on personal protective equipment based on CDC guidelines;
- Provide a sanitizing station such as a wash basin with soap and/or bottle of hand sanitizer;
- Practice recommended social distancing to the greatest extent possible.
View the full guidance here.
The Economic Recovery Group, comprised of 30 leaders from the public and private sector, is crafting guidance to assist businesses in a safe reopening. The industry representatives participating in the ERG collectively represent more than 140,000 Tennessee businesses that employ more than 2.5 million Tennesseans, the governor’s office said. More information about ERG is available here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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