Things are starting to open up earlier than expected as Gov. Kay Ivey made amendments to her safer-at-home order. The changes will go into effect 5 p.m. Monday and include the reopening of athletic facilities, such as fitness centers and commercial gyms, subject to social distancing and sanitation rules and guidelines.
Specific athletic activities are still not allowed, which includes the resumption of high school sports under AHSAA guidelines. Sports that involve interaction with another person closer than 6 feet; activities requiring the use of shared equipment; and activities on commercial or public playground equipment are also still prohibited under Ivey’s new order, which is scheduled to expire May 22.
For athletic facilities that can reopen, which include fitness centers, commercial gyms, spas and yoga, barre and spin facilities, there are certain rules that must be followed. Social distancing protocols must remain in place and the facility must limit its customers to 50% of the normal occupancy allowed. Showers, hot tubs, steam rooms, locker rooms and saunas cannot be available to customers, but pools may be open subject to social distancing.
It is also required all employees must wear masks or other facial coverings at all times while in contact with clients or guests.
The order also asks employers to read the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Guidelines for Athletic Facilities, which has practices that are strongly recommended yet not required.
• Screening customers for illness upon entry, including temperature checks and asking questions regarding COVID-19 symptoms and contact
• Keeping doors and windows open if possible to improve ventilation
• Posting signs to encourage social distancing
• Requiring customers to wash or sanitize hands before entering and leaving and requiring customers to clean equipment they come in contact with
• Encouraging customers to use only one piece of equipment at a time
• Considering limiting workout length
• Conducting regular disinfecting of high-touch surfaces, equipment and common areas
• Allowing group fitness classes only if they can be completed in accordance with social distancing recommendations
• Encouraging customers to wear personal protective equipment
• Adjusting equipment layout or restricting access to equipment to maintain at least 6 feet
• Closing water fountains, common areas, break rooms and check-in counters
• Encouraging users to provide their own water
• Providing no self-service options, such as coffee bars or smoothie stations
• Ensuring staffing is sufficient to enable enhanced sanitization and cleaning measures