What Gym and Fitness Center Employees Need to Know about COVID-19
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness (see list of symptoms). It is caused by a virus (SARS-COV-2).
COVID-19 can sometimes cause serious complications. People at an increased risk for severe illness include:
- Older adults
- People of any age who have underlying medical conditions
COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning about it. Here’s what we currently know:
- It mainly spreads from person-to-person:
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within less than 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when a person who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, or talks.
- You can get COVID-19 from people who don’t seem sick or don’t have symptoms.
- You might be able to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or your eyes.
As a gym and/or fitness center employee, you might be exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 at your job when:
- In close contact (within less than 6 feet) with patrons, coworkers, or service personnel who are infected.
- Touching or handling frequently touched surfaces and equipment and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
How You Can Protect Yourself and Others
Stay home if you are having symptoms of COVID-19.
- Follow CDC recommended steps if you are sick.
- Do not return to work until you meet the criteria to discontinue home isolation.
- Talk with your healthcare provider about when it’s safe for you to return to work.
- Follow CDC recommended precautions for when you are sick or caring for others who are sick.
- Tell your supervisor if you are well but recently had close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
Stay at least 6 feet away from patrons, coworkers, and service personnel when possible.
- Follow workplace protocols and cues, such as floor markings, for maintaining social distancing of at least 6 feet apart.
Wear a cloth face covering or mask in public, and at work, when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Face coverings or masks may prevent people who don’t know they have the virus from spreading it to others.
- Be careful when putting on and taking off cloth face coverings or masks:
- Do not touch the face covering or mask while wearing it.
- Do not touch your face, mouth, nose, or eyes while taking off the covering or mask.
- Wash your hands before putting on and after taking off the covering or mask.
- Wash the covering or mask after each use.
- If storing the cloth face covering or mask while at work, place the used cloth face covering or mask into your own personal container or paper bag labeled with your name.
- Do not wear cloth face coverings or masks if their use creates a new risk (for example, interferes with driving or vision, or contributes to heat-related illness) that exceeds their COVID-19 related benefits of slowing the spread of the virus.
- If you are concerned about the use of cloth face coverings or masks at your workplace, discuss your concerns with your employer.
Be aware of contact with frequently touched surfaces.
- Encourage gym patrons to clean equipment (e.g., free weights, exercise equipment, cardio machines) before and after use.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose, or eyes, especially when handling frequently touched items.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after contact with or cleaning of frequently touched surfaces. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.
- Bring your own personal water bottle with your name on it.
- Avoid sharing any personal items with coworkers or patrons.
Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You don’t need to wear gloves if you wash your hands regularly (unless they are already required for your job).
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol if soap and water aren’t available.
- Wash your hands at these key times:
- Before, during, and after preparing food.
- Before eating food.
- After using the toilet.
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- After putting on, touching, or removing cloth face coverings or masks.
- Before and after work and work breaks.
- Before and after touching any shared exercise equipment.
- Before and after training sessions with patrons.
Do not touch your face, mouth, nose, or eyes.
- Use tissues to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
- Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
How to Cope with Stress
Mental health is an important part of worker safety and health. The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges in the ways many people work and connect with others, which may raise feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Information and resources about mental health, knowing signs of stress, taking steps to manage stress, and knowing where to go if you need help are available here.
How Your Employer Can Protect You
Your employer should develop a COVID-19 response plan and share it with you. We created a fact sheet to help your employer.
How To Get More Information
Talk to your employer or supervisor, or whoever is responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns. Use these sources for more information on reducing the risk of worker exposures to COVID-19:
- CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- CDC Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility
- CDC Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes
- NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic: COVID-19
- CDC COVID-19
- OSHA COVID-19external icon
- OSHA Guidelines on Preparing Workplaces for COVIDpdf iconexternal icon
- IHRSA 18 Safety Considerations for your Health Club Reopening Planexternal icon
- CDC COVID-19 Communication Resources
- CDCINFO: 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) | TTY: 1-888-232-6348 | website: cdc.gov/info