Sport, training and swimming
In collaboration with the Norwegian Directorate of Health, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health has prepared a guide for infection control for COVID-19 for sports teams / clubs.
The guide applies to the Norwegian Sports Federation (NIF), special federations, sports teams, clubs and others who arrange organised sports. NIF, together with the special federations, must prepare advice and recommendations tailored to the specific sports and activities. There is a distinction between adults and children/adolescents for contact-limiting measures. Child/adolescent refers to people aged up to and including 19 years.
- Infection control for sport (COVID-19) (Norwegian Directorate of Health) – in Norwegian
Events for up to 200 people
From 15th June, it is possible to have events for up to 200 people with a requirement of distance of at least 1 metre between all participants, with some exceptions. Matches, cups and tournaments are considered to be events, but not regular training sessions or training matches. For more information, see Events, gatherings and summer activities.
Maximum 20 in training groups
For regular training, a maximum of 20 people in a group are recommended. Several groups of a maximum of 20 people can be together if the groups are kept separate, and that they can individually and collectively comply with the infection control advice.
For adults, the distance recommendations of at least 1 metre between people apply, also within groups. This applies both indoors and outdoors.
Children and adolescents under 20-years-old may be exempt from the distance recommendations if it is necessary for normal training. It is recommended to have as little mixing as possible between the defined groups. The exemption does not apply for events.
Fitness centres can open from the 15th June 2020 if infection control measures are in place.
The risk of transmission in fitness centres is linked to many common touch points for those who exercise, that people are close to each other, and that activity mainly takes place indoors and in poorly ventilated premises. Published studies show that transmission in groups sessions with high physical activity is higher than in activities like pilates and yoga. Fitness centres also gather people from different areas.
Therefore, to reduce the risk of infection in the fitness centres, strict infection control measures are important. The main points are:
- Keep at least 1 metre between people who are training at all times, but at least 2 metres in high intensity groups sessions with increased exhalation. In less physically demanding group sessions such as yoga and pilates, 1 metre distance is sufficient.
- 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.
- 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 wardrobes, toilets and shower facilities.
- Avoid queues at the entrance / reception, toilets, wardrobes and at the various equipment.
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)
Organised swimming and school swimming
The government has decided that organised swimming, including school swimming, can resume from 1st June 2020, as long as the recommended infection control measures are followed.
Here we describe measures to reduce the risk of infection from organised swimming, including training, rehabilitation and other water therapy with an organiser. These tips are general and must be viewed in the context of current regulations and recommendations from the Norwegian Directorate of Health.
Organised swimming refers to all activity with a responsible organiser (school or club / team, etc.) in the form of swimming lessons, swimming training, courses and competitive swimming arranged by swimming clubs. For organised sports activities, this advice also applies:
- Infection control for sport (COVID-19) (Norwegian Directorate of Health) – in Norwegian
General advice to prevent transmission
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. Particularly exposed areas will be in the entrance, changing rooms and shower facilities.
The three main pillars for limiting transmission are:
- People with symptoms of COVID-19 should not be present.
- Good hygiene (hand hygiene, cough etiquette and avoid touching your face with your hands).
- Reduced contact between people.
The most important measure is to prevent sick people from visiting the facility. All visitors must wash with soap and water in the shower before and after being in the pool. As a result, changing rooms in swimming facilities will be allowed to open even though changing rooms for other types of sports and activity remain closed. It is important that there is at least 1 metre distance between people in the changing room and showers, and that the toilet capacity is sufficient with regard to the number of people who are using the swimming pool at the same time.
Enhanced infection control measures should include:
- Clear signs and a minimum of 1 metre distance between those using the changing rooms and showers, and in queue areas (e.g. diving boards, entrances and common areas).
- Limit the number of visitors according to the area and capacity in changing rooms, toilets and showers.
- Minimum 1 metre distance between people in shower facilities and in changing rooms.
- 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.
- Limit access to viewing stands and common areas. There must be at least 1 metre distance between people in the stands and in common areas.
- Soap and disposable paper towels should be available in all toilets and sanitary rooms.
- Walking zones in bathing and swimming facilities should be rinsed regularly.
- Wash or disinfect hands before and after using equipment such as floats and swimming rings, etc.
- Personal equipment should not be used or shared with others by others, such as a nose clip, bathing cap, etc.
- There should be adequate monitoring in changing rooms and pool facilities to ensure the requirements for infection control measures are met.
- The toilet capacity should be sufficient in terms of the number of people in the swimming facility at the same time.
Changing rooms and showers
In principle, every second locker and every shower should not be used if the distance between them is less than 1 metre. Make local adaptations based on the design of the changing rooms and showers.
Clean common showers daily, as a minimum. Regular supervision may be necessary to assess the need for extra cleaning.
As the size and design of pool facilities and associated facilities vary so widely, the municipal health authority or the municipal medical officer should assess whether the individual pool facility has implemented adequate infection control measures on re-opening. This is also in line with regulations on environmental health protection.
The risk of transmission will be low if the contact-reducing measures are implemented, and there are a limited number of people in the facilities.
Entrance hall and common areas
For entrances and common areas, it is recommended to have:
- Plexiglass screen in front of reception (if there is no window from before).
- Floor markings on the floor to ensure a minimum of 1 metre between people in the queue, and should preferably be placed with 2 metres between each queue.
For updated information on people who may be at higher risk of COVID-19, see:
Use swimming nappies to prevent leaks into the water. The same requirements for distance and hygiene apply as for other users. Wash changing tables with soap and water between each user, and there must be sufficient distance between changing positions (minimum 1 metre).
Wash hands with soap and water before and after using equipment / rescue dolls. There should be a distance restriction of at least 1 metre between participants and between trainer and participant.
Pre-heat the sauna before use. There should be a minimum of 1 metre between each person, and hand hygiene should be performed before and after the sauna visit. Visitors should sit on their own towel in the sauna. Clean benches / surfaces / handles regularly with soap and water. Regular cleaning of surfaces with ordinary detergents is important. If there bodily fluids are spilled, use spot disinfection with chlorine.
Hot tubs, whirlpool baths
Hot tubs may be used by one person or a household / family at the same time if the bath water is drained and the tub is cleaned between each use. In a whirlpool bath, only one person at a time should be allowed, if it is not possible to achieve a minimum of 1 metre between users. See the advice above for changing rooms and showers, as well as enhanced hygiene.
Treatment that includes bathing (spa, rehabilitation, etc.)
Limited access is allowed to facilities where individuals can make appointments and where bathing is part of the treatment. It is a prerequisite that the spa / massage / whirlpool bath is cleaned and operated according to the equipment’s instructions, according to the swimming and therapy pool regulations. Close personal contact, where droplet or contact transmission can occur, poses the main risk of transmission for COVID-19, as well as touching the pool's walls and edges, handrails, etc.
The bath must be operated as instructed by the manufacturer, and the chemical balance (sufficient disinfection / cleaning) must be maintained.
Only have so many people in the bath that the 1 metre rule can be maintained.
Alcohol-based disinfectants should be available so that anyone using the hot tub can clean their hands before and after use.