“With most states relaxing business restrictions over the next few weeks, gyms, fitness centers, and exercise professionals are eager to get back to work,” says CREP president Brian Biagioli EdD. “Due to the potential for risk, however, we must move forward wisely. This first-of-its-kind resource supports CREP’s goal of protecting and advancing the fitness profession while considering the safety of all stakeholders in the fitness industry.”
The guide incorporates health and safety research from the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Its key recommendations for health facilities and personnel include the following:
• Assess spaces to support social distancing requirements
• Determine areas and equipment that users can access and which will remain off-limits
• Set rules for the use of personal protective equipment
• Prepare an operating plan and train staff on procedures
• Establish cleaning and sanitization practices and schedules
• Modify classes and training schedules
“The guidelines in Planning a Return to Work fill a need for authoritative and specific information that is currently lacking from other sources,” says CREP executive officer Katherine Hughey. “It represents the proactive work of several leading exercise and sports science organizations that will be critical to establishing consumer confidence in our industry as well as our ability to safely serve the physical activity needs of our communities.”
Organizations supporting the guide include the American Council on Exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Council on Strength and Fitness, the National Strength and Conditioning Association, the National Pilates Certification Program, and the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches association.
Biagioli stresses that these are uncharted waters and anticipates this initial version of the guide will evolve in the coming months: “We are still learning about how to deal with the threats posed by COVID-19. Responding to evidence-based data as it is collected, CREP will continue to improve these best practices to ensure safe environments for both employees and participants.”
Visit usreps.org/Pages/aboutus.aspx for more information.