Exercise Safely Under Virginia's Phase Two

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By News Team on June 4, 2020

As phase two guidelines go into effect, Virginians are making plans to return to the gym, the pool and team sports. The 41-page list of mandatory requirements and best practices from Gov. Northam informs businesses throughout the commonwealth on how to reopen safely. Most of those requirements focus on masks, cleaning procedures and social distancing, and clear communications about those requirements to customers and clients.

outdoor yoga exercise class during COVID-19
Carilion Wellness facilities have held outdoor classes throughout phase one, and are preparing to open the indoor facilities under phase two guidelines.

Getting Back to the Gym
For exercise facilities such as Carilion Wellness, the mandatory requirements include:

  • Strictly adhere to physical distancing guidelines, enhanced cleaning and disinfection practices and enhanced workplace safety practices
  • Post signs at the entrance stating that no one will be allowed in with with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19, or known exposure to a COVID-19 case in the prior 14 days
  • Post public health reminders regarding physical distancing, gatherings, options for high-risk individuals and staying home if sick 
  • Limit occupancy to the fewer of 50 people or 30 percent of the lowest permitted occupancy
  • Rearrange fitness equipment to ensure 10 feet of separation
  • Screen patrons for COVID-19 symptoms prior to admission, while maintaining their privacy
  • Maintain at least 10 feet of distance between instructors, trainers and clients
  • Require face coverings over all employees' noses and mouths, with the exception of lifeguards responding to distressed swimmers
  • Provide hand sanitizing stations at entrance/exits and near shared fitness equipment
  • Ensure shared equipment is cleaned and disinfected after each use
  • Prohibit the use of equipment that cannot be thoroughly disinfected between uses, such as climbing ropes and exercise bands
  • Limit the use of equipment requiring more than one person to operate to those who live together
  • Close hot tubs, spas, saunas, splash pads, spray pools and interactive play features

While most facilities will abide only by the 10-foot rule, Carilion Wellness has worked closely with our Infectious Disease team to best ensure members' safety by exceeding the Governor's guidelines. Carilion Wellness is redesigning its studios to maintain distances of:

  • 6 feet apart in common areas
  • 15 feet between cardio equipment and weight stack pieces
  • 20 feet between free weight pods and in cycle studios

Carilion Wellness has reached out to members with a detailed re-introduction from the team as they prepare to open on Wednesday, June 10.

Team Sports and Group Exercise
Because phase two requires a minimum of 10 feet of distance between people when exercising, team sports remain a challenge, from Little League to the professional level. 

In order to keep ourselves and our communities safe, some things will have to wait for "phase three," whenever that may be. 

In the meantime, practice drills and small-group coaching can keep you moving and connecting with your teammates.

And if you want to continue exercising at home, Carilion Wellness's free YouTube workout series can help!
This article was reviewed by Anthony Baffoe-Bonnie, M.D., medical director of Carilion Clinic's Infection Prevention and Control Department

See us safely at CarilionClinic.org/safe.

As always, and like never before, we're here to see you safely through all your health care needs. Visit CarilionClinic.org/safe to learn how. For up-to-date information about our response to COVID-19, visit CarilionClinic.org/coronavirus