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Protecting Yourself From The Coronavirus

Posted On March 13, 2020 @ 9: 00 am / Updated On August 12, 2020 @ 12: 28 am

By: Trisha Sarker

Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC) continues to monitor updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). As such, we would like to share some important information and recommended steps clubs should consider when dealing with concerns around the coronavirus.

Currently, more than 53 countries have been diagnosed with the coronavirus with nearly 3,000 fatalities. In Canada, cases are still rare; however, it is imperative that the fitness industry gets behind protecting both employees and members as fitness businesses are often designed to be in enclosed spaces in close proximity to a number of individuals.

However, it is important to inform individuals that exercise helps to boost the immune system. Due to this, we want to encourage individuals to continue working out, but ensure they are provided with all the safety measures that we can offer.

The main source of transmission comes from hands touching one’s mouth, nose, or eyes. Therefore, cleansing with antibacterial alcohol-based hand-cleanser and washing your hands frequently is highly recommended. When it comes to sanitation practices at a fitness facility, you can run a responsible business by offering antibacterial sanitation wipes and guiding members to wipe down their equipment before each use.

As members enter your facility, you can do two things right away: (1) allow them to scan their own barcode instead of taking it from them at the front desk. This will reduce contact and let members oversee their own health while also protecting staff; (2) have sanitizing wipes or an alcohol-based hand-sanitizer available at the front desk that members may easily access as soon as they enter and as they leave the facility.

To limit the spread of germs and keep your teams and members healthy we would like to share the following tips:

  • Be generous with wipes and remind members of the importance of wiping down all areas of equipment they will be touching and have touched.
  • Check your supply of wipes and consider re-ordering early. Supplies are limited from many manufacturers due to increased demand at this time.
  • Consider scheduling additional cleaning hours of your regular cleaning crew. Remember, cleaning objects and surfaces is your best protection against the spread of germs.
  • Have antibacterial hand sanitizer readily available at the facility.
  • Consider limiting physical contact with others and substituting high-fives with elbow bumps or fist pumps.
  • During class announcements, have coaches, instructors, or trainers remind members of the importance of wiping down equipment and washing their hands.
  • Remind members that they should not be working out when they have a fever, are coughing, sneezing, or experiencing shortness of breath.
  • Speak to members who appear to be sick and encourage them to reconsider their workout.
  • Send home any team members, especially coaches, instructors, or trainers, who are ill. (Prepare for this possibility with backup staff who can be contacted when needed.)
  • Remind all employees to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, particularly after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing.

It is important that facilities follow announcements and guidance from the local public health authorities. We will continue to seek guidance from these agencies and public health officials, and we will update you as new information becomes available.

Please keep in mind that as you implement these measures and any others related to concerns around coronavirus, that you are mindful of all federal, provincial, and local laws – especially laws relating to discrimination and profiling, which may conflict with diversity inclusion.**

For additional information, consult only trusted sources of information. We recommend the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

Public Health Agency of Canada
**FIC would like to thank Orangetheory Fitness and GYMVMT for sharing their in-studio recommendations with us. If your club has any additional tips you would like to share, please email us at

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Trisha Sarker

As the executive director of FIC, Trisha provides strategic counsel for Fitness Industry Canada's corporate affairs and professional communications. She also produces articles for various publications, manages event coordination, and executes national campaigns. 

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