Well, we’ve made it through the lockdown closures and have finally been able to open our doors again. Starting from the 27th of July, Gym Bubbas gyms are officially back open for business and of course, we’re eager to welcome everyone back. But we’re aware that not everyone is going to be ready to rejoin us and plenty of you will definitely have questions. This is why we have put together out Covid Safe information page, which provides a lot of answers to such questions. In our last post, we mentioned that we would discuss the government guidelines we are following, and in this post, we hope to do just that and help reassure you all that returning to sport is indeed safe.
The Basics Still Apply
One of the common misconceptions that is being seen across the internet and the news seems to be that a good number of people appear to think that now lockdown has been eased, the basic measures brought in back in March no longer apply. Now, we know that our clients are all wonderful and considerate individuals, but just in case anyone is remotely unsure we have to make it clear; all of the basics still apply.
This means that social distancing, extended hand washing, alcohol gel usage and ideally a face mask being worn by adults accompanying children into the building should all be observed.
These simple measures are by far the most effective way we can all do our part to prevent the spread of the virus whilst enjoying activities together. But seeing as this has been the expectation for everyone since the pandemic began, what has changed to make returning to the gym safe?
What Has Allowed Us to Reopen?
As we’re sure you’re well aware, there have been a lot of changes and developments to the state of the country in recent weeks. No single change has been the sole reason we’ve been allowed to reopen, but the government has deemed that “grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities” which we are categorised under, provide sufficiently limited risk in regards furthering transmission between people.
More specifically, The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport have published updated and detailed guidelines throughout June and July. This guidance is continuing to be updated as things progress, but ultimately the rules and advice laid out in this documentation is what we are integrating into our daily running. This is what has allowed us to finally reopen and start teaching again.
If you would like to read the full guidance then you can find it here: Guidance for people who work in grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities.
Please note that the information provided in this document is intended to be generalised as it applies to a wide array of business types. It is down to the individual businesses, like ourselves, to adapt and interpret it in appropriate ways. So please don’t expect it to relate to the way we’re working one to one.
Why Have We Chosen to Reopen?
This might sound like a bit of a silly question, but the decision to reopen was not based purely on the government giving us permission. When we heard that it was likely that reopening of sports and leisure facilities was going to be announced, we had to ask ourselves if we SHOULD reopen. This lead us to debate if we felt comfortable and safe offering classes again given the current situation, and how our customers and their families would feel about potentially coming back. Whilst there were plenty of considerations to be made, after reading the guidance we realised it was almost entirely in line with what we had been planning.
“careful risk assessment of both the venue and activity is required to manage social distancing and effective infection control”Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) – Providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities – Section 2: Keeping your customers and users of sports and gym/leisure facilities safe
After undertaking our own risk assessment and implementing every sensible measure to ensure everyone’s safety, we decided that we could welcome people back safely. Hopefully, you’ve been following us on Facebook and have checked out our Covid Safety page so you know all about what we’ve done and are ready for your return.
What Can You Do?
There are plenty of little things for us all to do to ensure everyone can enjoy the gyms again. But by far the most important thing for you to do is prepare your children for the changes so they know what to expect and help them follow the rules.
We know that children may find it difficult to adjust to the changes we’ve had to implement in the gyms. But we also know how resilient they all are and trust them to rise to the occasion. We ask that whoever is bringing them to the gym follow all the instructions we’ve laid out and help ensure their child does as well. This will include entering and exiting quickly, no toys to play with, maintaining their distance from others and following the one way systems as best they can.
There are also a few in-class changes that might catch them off guard. The obvious ones like face masks and having to keep a distance from each other wherever possible will be strange to begin with. However, the guidance also recommends that “steps are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other”. So having the children listening well and not needing our instructors to be any louder than necessary will help with this.
Moving with the Times
As with everything going on in the world at the moment, no one is really sure what is happening from one minute to the next. But we want everyone that visits Gym Bubbas to know that we’re following the most up to date advice and regulations and will continue to evolve how we handle things as the guidance changes. Hopefully this will sooner or later include allowing more relaxed viewing, visiting and participation rules.
In fact, things have already been changing just a few days into the Autumn Term! Up until last week the use of fabric equipment was banned as it was deemed to have a higher infection risk and was harder to clean. This has now been relaxed, and so we have been able to break out the parachutes which are great fun for children (and instructors) or all ages!
Some Final Reassurances
There has recently been a fascinating study published by the University of Oslo about the safety of gyms and similar ‘training facilities’ during the Covid pandemic. In this study, they looked at more than 3,700 people as they returned to sports facilities, all of whom had no prior history of infection. The research showed that “contact tracing and quarantine, hand hygiene and personal social distancing measures are sufficient to prevent virus spread” and as such being in a gym was safe. In fact, no one in the study contracted the virus and they concluded that the safe operation of gyms was definitely possible. They summarise:
“As our results show, there was no increase in COVID-related disease due to the opening of training facilities.”Randomized Re-Opening of Training Facilities during the COVID-19
pandemic – By The TRAiN study group – Page 13
Really, the whole point of this post has been to highlight the information we have been working with and the decisions we have made, without repeating things being said in other parts of our website.
The important things to take away are that everything that can be done to keep you and your children safe is being done. We have adopted an even more rigorous cleaning regime than we used to, provided every opportunity for social distancing and are providing cleaning and sanitation facilities for our visitors. So everything expected of us by the government to meet their standards has been met. But more importantly, everything possible has been done to reach our own very high standards.
With Gym Bubbas, your children and families will always be our top priority!