The Fitness FIrm: Guide to return to Work Safety Plan and Policies for Employees and Patrons
July 20, 2020
The Fitness Firm is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all employees and patrons. As stage 3 is now confirmed to begin, we are getting prepared to tentatively open on Saturday July 25, 2020. The mandatory mask by-law that was enacted by the Region of Halton may not be the only reason we were moved to stage 3 but certainly assisted in the provincial governments decision.
When re-opening, our business must consider the levels of protection we can offer. As well as the succeeding 19 points that pertain to our business.
1) Levels of protection:
a) The highest level of protection is controlling the number of people within the facility. Stage 3 has a limit of 50 people for indoor gatherings to maintain physical distancing.
b) Physical/ social distancing – maintain a distance of 6 ft (2m) between people outside of your household or social circle.
c) Physical means and frequent handwashing: The Fitness FIrm has invested in the following area
- Plexi-glass barrier at the front desk
- Created taped areas for recommended safe distancing at front desk and in studio
- Purchased a hydrostatic machine for cleaning all surfaces
- Implemented cleaning protocols by all trainers and MSR’s
- Investment of PPE ie. masks, gloves, gowns (RMT)
- Soap and disinfectant available throughout the club
The following attachment is the official framework for opening the province in stage 3.
2) Mandatory Mask By-Law and Access:
On July 16, 2020, The City of Burlington enacted By-Law 62-2020 requiring the use of face masks or face coverings with some exceptions in all indoor spaces which becomes enforceable July 20, 2020. Companies that have indoor physical activity are allowed to use their discretion when it comes to this by-law and so The Fitness Firm has derived its own policy to include the wearing of masks while at the club which is further discussed in section 4. Because of this policy, we feel it will be acceptable to return to a 24/7 access at The Fitness Firm. Historically, we rarely see more than 30 people within the club at one time. If everyone works together by wearing masks and being respectful of peoples’ space and handwashing, we feel the 24/7 access can be successful. We will continue to have a staff member from 8 am – 6:30 pm. Attention: we will be keeping doors locked for the first week of re-opening to ensure COVID – 19 waivers are signed. See point 19 for more on waivers.
3) Employees :
All employees have been updated regularly throughout our slow return to work.
- RMT – Our Registered Massage Therapist in accordance with his college has been in a mask, shield and gown since our clinic opened in June to prevent the transmission of COVID 19.
- Personal Trainers – our personal trainers that have done minimal hours thus far have been wearing shields at all times on the floor to prevent the transmission of COVID 19. In accordance with the new By-Law, moving forward all trainers will be in a mask.
- MSR’s All employees have been and continue to be updated via email from management regularly with regard to policies and procedures throughout this period. Management is also in daily contact with most employees employed here at The Fitness Firm. To the best of our knowledge, our current practices are up to date with the Ministry of Health, The CIty of Burlington and the Halton Region. All employees disinfect and self screen upon arrival to The FItness Firm and records are kept in back room. Employees that experience symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc. will not come into work.
To prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, to protect the health and well-being of Burlington residents the City of Burlington, on July 20, 2020, enacted By-Law 62-2020 requiring the use of face masks or face coverings, with some exceptions, in all indoor public spaces.
All MSR’s / employees / trainers will be in a mask.
Matt Banks, RMT treats all clients in a gown, mask and face shield.
Indoor Mandatory Mask By- Law: The current pandemic situation presents us unprecedented challenges that invite us to weigh the risk vs. benefit of wearing a mask while exercising. This policy will be in effect until the regional medical officer of health deems it safe to be removed. There is minimal research done in this area, and so, there are risks no matter what direction we take. Companies that have indoor physical activity are allowed to use their discretion when it comes to this by-law and so The Fitness Firm has derived its own policy to include that masks be worn while at the club, unless an underlying medical condition prevents you from wearing one. There is some research with exercise and masks, but these studies are using an exercise/ training mask. Some studies include the use of 2 masks. And so, while most articles that we have reviewed have stated that it is generally considered safe to exercise with a mask on, there will always be risk. The following articles are info regarding this area.
Exercise is key in staying healthy overall, will boost your immune system and is a key player in good mental health. A large percentage of our membership is of mature age and we feel that to keep everyone safe, this would be the best choice. Looking at the articles and through conversation, we feel that one can reap all these benefits at the cost of wearing a mask during workouts while following the guidelines below. Despite there being very few cases in Halton and Burlington, this virus does not have a vaccine and is still considered a risk. Safety is always our first priority.
Guidelines when wearing a mask while at the club:
- We ask you to consistently be mindful throughout your workout.
- Wearing a mask may require vigorous workouts to now become more moderate in nature. Wearing a mask doesn’t mean you can’t take a breather. Clients are encouraged to slow their workout rate to allow for proper breathing.
- Please refer to the rate of perceived exertion.
- Clients are encouraged to lift their mask and take ten breaths (away from others and surfaces) without the mask every 10 minutes.
- We would suggest a removal of your mask at any sign of dizziness or lightheadedness.
This policy may disappoint some, however, it is important to keep in mind:
1. Wearing masks protects others. People wearing masks protect you. The type of mask you choose determines how well you are protected. Heavier cloth masks are more protective but more difficult to breathe in, thinner masks are easier to breathe however small particles can still get out and through. Also make sure your mask fits you well. The larger it is, the more gaps there are, the more likely small particles will come in.
More on purchasing masks:
2.Masks will not be required perpetually, in other words, this requirement is not forever.
3.In stage 3, a lot more businesses / people return to work. This means more of our Burlington residents travel out of town (Toronto/Niagara/ GTA) and return back to Burlington. Our goal is to open and stay open. We do not want to be the location of the instigation of a COVID case and so we feel these protocols are the safest and most sustainable solution for our members, staff and our business.
Amendments: The mandatory mask rule will be amended to those who have cardiovascular or respiratory conditions, such as asthma, COPD, bronchitis, cystic fibrosis or pulmonary fibrosis at their request. The severity of the condition will dictate whether or not it’s appropriate or not to exercise with a face mask on. We suggest you practice at home before trying it at the club. It may even be a good idea to speak to your doctor first, especially if you haven’t exercised in a long time.
Only RMT clients will be screened before their treatment.
As a result, we ask that you act responsibly when attending the club.
- Wear a mask
- Maintain social / physical distance from other members
- Wash or disinfect your hands upon entry and exit to the club.
- DO NOT COME if you have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose.
The Fitness Firm uses a disinfectant called Sure 5 RTU D COVID Killer which as stated is verified effective against COVID 19.
Previously, The Fitness FIrm had 3 disinfecting stations in the main gym, one in the studio and one upstairs in the free weight.
Upon re-opening, The Fitness FIrm has increased disinfecting stations for convenience disinfecting to:
4 in main gym
1 in studio
Patrons are expected to wipe down all equipment surfaces before and after use with paper towel. Paper towel can be used more than once if you like.
The club has 3 hand sanitizer dispensers within the club. Refills for the dispensers are on order.
7) Cardio machines :
We will remove one treadmill to allow for more space between machines. We will encourage a system of using every other machine simultaneously as well as encourage a time of 30 mins for the cardio portion of your workout. Please wipe down the machine thoroughly before and after use. Because it is more challenging to do so, you may choose to do the cardio potion of your workout at home or outside on temperate days. Please refer back to the rate of perceived exertion while doing cardio.
Please wipe down your machine before and after use.
The Fitness FIrm no longer supplies mats for use. You are required to bring your own mat for the club as well as for classes / yoga if you would like to do floor exercises.
With respect to class equipment – I likely remove yoga equipment from the studio as blocks, straps and blankets are challenging to clean/ disinfect. You will be asked to bring your own blocks, straps, blankets for yoga.
Fitness classes – ALl hard surface equipment will remain and will be disinfected by you after classes.
9) Social Aspect:
The social aspect of our facility has been one of our greatest strengths in our business. While we encourage community, it is strongly suggested that equipment no longer be shared or used simultaneously. You are encouraged to do 2-3 sets, clean your machine and move on to the next machine. Unfortunately, congregating in groups is discouraged unless the 6 ft social distance can prevail.
At this stage, toilets are open for use. Showers are closed. We are encouraging, especially this time of year, to come as prepared as possible to workout upon arrival without changing. If changing is necessary, lockers are available to be used but must be wiped down before and after use.
11) Group Fitness;
Group Fitness will not be offered until August. Group fitness classes will no longer be offered in the same fashion previous to the pandemic. The studio now holds a maximum of 8 participants which have been set up in quadrants on the studio floor that are 2 metres square. Unfortunately, our previous business model no longer supports this new system and so we must adapt. All previous group fitness participants will be required to purchase a class pass of 10 classes for $79 to attend classes/ $149 for non-members. These class passes will have an expiry date of 6 months from purchase.
The new schedule will be sent out within the next 14 days. Participants can call the club at 9056379220 or email [email protected] to get a spot, we are currently working on getting group fitness class sign ups via the website. Patrons who pay their regular membership are welcome to join the class on zoom at no extra charge. See virtual classes below to learn more about how to do that.
12) Personal belongings:
If you carry in personal belongings such as water bottles, sweaters, shoes etc and they are left at the club, we will hold them for one week and then they will be discarded. Please bring in with you as little as possible and take your belongings with you when you leave.
13) Smoothies/ A+ Smoodees:
Our homemade smoothies are no longer available at The FItness FIrm. We are looking at offering A+ Smoodees beginning August. More to come on this.
14) Drinking Fountain:
Is off limits until further notice.
15) Garbage/ recycle – All remain in the same places only most of them will be recycle bins. We will be going through a lot of paper and it would be wasteful to see all of it go to garbage as we have done for too long already. Please notice where you are throwing your garbage / recycling BIns will be labelled.
15) Membership / other service dues:
All membership prices will remain the same upon re-opening. We will be debiting your accounts / credit cards on August 1st unless we hear from you otherwise.
Personal training fees remain the same.
Massage therapy fees remain the same but will be increased November 1st. Perhaps consider getting in over the next months before rates increase.
Nutrition Consulting fees remain the same.
16) Virtual class and PT options:
We are working on getting weekday 9 am and 5:30 pm classes available on zoom so one can enjoy the class from the comfort of their home. You will need the zoom app on your smart phone, laptop or macbook or ipad.
Details on how to get on zoom classes are here:
Personal Trainers are also available to perform online zoom personal training sessions. Email us here for more information.
17) Website :
Our website is still active however it has not been updated in some time. We are currently working on a new website.
19) Waiver and FOB – In order for us to know that you comply with these guidelines, we require your authorization via a new waiver that all members need to sign upon returning to The FItness Firm. Fobs will not work until the waiver has been signed. In the next day or two, you will receive an email with a link to your member portal to sign the waiver.
Finally, thank you for your patience for us to re-open safely and confidently. Keep in mind that this is a working document and more may be added or changed Kindly, please continue to be patient with us as we open our business in an unprecedented time. If you have any questions, please email us here.