Advice for fitness centres, swimming pools and bathing facilities
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Here you will find advice and guidance for fitness centres, public baths, swimming pools and bathing facilities. The advice given in the article is general and must be seen in connection with current regulations and recommendations from the Norwegian Directorate of Health.
The basic infection control advice about staying home when you are sick, good hand hygiene and good coughing etiquette also apply to all the activities discussed in this article.
Fitness centres are covered by the requirements given in the COVID-19 regulations § 15b.
In addition, the following advice applies:
- Keep at least 1 metre between people who are training at all times, and at least 2 metres in high intensity group sessions.
- Hand hygiene should be performed before and after the session.
- Enhanced cleaning of frequently used contact points and equipment.
- Equipment that is touched with hands over time (e.g. weights and exercise equipment) should be cleaned according to the usual routines by each user, and by the centre at the end of the day.
- Avoid queues at the entrance / reception, toilets, changing rooms and at the equipment.
- The centres should have an overview / plan of the maximum number of people who can be in the centre at the same time given current distance requirements, access to changing rooms, toilets and shower facilities.
The fitness industry has developed an industry standard for safe operation within infection control measures with input from the health authorities, which the fitness centres are expected to follow:
- Infection control guideline for fitness centres (Virke - in Norwegian)
About the risk of transmission in fitness centres
The risk of infection in fitness centres is associated with many common touch points for those who exercise, increased respiration with corresponding droplet production, that people are close to each other, and that activity mainly takes place indoors. Fitness centres often gather people from different geographical areas.
Transmission potential in fitness classes with high physical activity is higher than with activities such as pilates and yoga.
In general, it is recommended to ensure good ventilation in enclosed environments and enclosed rooms. In enclosed rooms without a ventilation system, it is recommended to air the room regularly. Ventilation should follow normal routines. More information about indoor climate and advice on ventilation can be found here:
Organised swimming/school swimming
Organised swimming/school swimming should follow the general advice for swimming pools and bathing facilities found in this article. For organised swimming/school swimming, this advice also applies:
- Infection control for sport (COVID-19) (Norwegian Directorate of Health) – in Norwegian
Infection control measures for swimming pools and bathing facilities
Swimming pools and bathing facilities are covered by the requirements specified in COVID-19 regulations § 15b.
In addition, the following recommendation apply:
- Allow for at least 1 metre distance between people everywhere (including entrances, changing rooms, showers, viewing stands, diving boards and other common areas, for example by floor marking or other measures).
- Limit the number of visitors according to the area and capacity in changing rooms, toilets and showers.
- Consider closing every second locker and every second shower if the distance between them is less than 1 metre. Clean common showers daily, as a minimum. Regular supervision may be necessary to assess the need for extra cleaning.
- Throrough cleaning, especially contact points and surfaces (door handles, stair railings, toilet seats, taps, dispensers, benches, changing rooms, etc.). Contact surfaces that are frequently touched should be cleaned frequently depending on the number of people and frequency of contact.
- Handheld hair dryers can be used if hands are washed before and after use
- Soap and disposable paper towels should be available in all toilets and sanitary rooms.
- Floats and swimming rings and other shared equipment should be washed or disinfected before and after use.
- Personal equipment should not be used or shared with others by others, such as a nose clip, bathing cap, etc.
- In a whirlpool bath, only one person should be allowed at a time, if at least 1 metre distance between users is not possible
- The same requirements for distance and hygiene apply as for other users of the facilities.
- Wash changing tables with soap and water between each user.
- Ensure sufficient distance between changing positions (minimum 1 metre).
- Clean hands before and after using equipment / rescue dolls.
- Keep a distance of at least 1 metre between participants and between trainer and participant.
- People who participate on courses that require physical proximity for brief periods that is necessary for certification or approval of professional practice are exempt from the distance requirements see COVID-19-regulations § 13c.
- Pre-heat the sauna before use.
- Allow for a minimum of 1 metre between each person.
- Clean hands before and after the sauna visit.
- Visitors should sit on their own towel.
- Benches / surfaces / handles should be cleaned regularly with soap and water.
Risk of transmission in swimming pools and bathing facilities
In accordance with current regulations, swimming facilities already have very strict cleaning and hygiene requirements to maintain normal operation. Similarly, there are strict requirements for water treatment, which gives little risk of contamination via pool water. However, it is challenging to prevent contact or droplet transmission by limiting social distance and enhanced cleaning in swimming facilities. The entrance areas, changing rooms and shower facilities are particularly exposed areas for transmission.