Fitness centers like the Two Rivers YMCA have consistently ranked at the bottom of the list of places where outbreaks of COVID-19 occur.
Specifically, in region 2 of Illinois, "Gym/Fitness/Dance Facility" ranked as number 22 on a list of 28 on a report updated on December 11, 2020 by the Illinois Department of Public Health, as shown below in the chart. That means places like the Y present less of a risk than restaurants, retail/sales (like grocery stores), office settings, and many other places that we frequent. Why is that?
Why is the YMCA safer to visit than a grocery store, a restaurant, or your workplace? Here are 10 factors that contribute to the safety of fitness centers during this pandemic.
- Business Model - As a membership-based business, our members are our priority and keeping them happy and healthy is crucial.
- Members, not Customers - Because our visitors are members we can communicate any protocols in advance, or upon check-in, and membership requires adherence.
- Check-in System - Having a check-in system doubles as a way to control capacity and help with contact tracing.
- Great Hygiene - Cleanliness has always been a priority. Not only were we already cleaning but we have increased cleaning procedures. Members also clean as they workout.
- Single Person Check In - People are not visiting in large clusters, but usually check in as an individual or household, limiting close encounters and reducing the risk for spread.
- Equipment Spacing - We can easily promote social distancing by spacing out our equipment.
- Masks - We have seen great compliance on wearing masks from our members and staff.
- No Close Contact for Extended Periods - Members usually work out alone (or with someone of the same household) and because equipment is spaced out, there aren't as many instances for close encounters.
- Over Engineered Airflow - We have already been on top of having clean airflow to reduce humidity and stench that are produced when working out. This clean airflow also removes and reduces the particles in the air that carry COVID-19.
- Healthy People - Generally speaking, the majority of members are healthy people. Healthier people are less at risk. And, when members are sick, they don't visit the Y.