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This action card provides advice on measures that are likely to be reasonable to take to minimise the risk of coronavirus in the sport and leisure sector.

It should be used in conjunction with current Welsh Government regulations and other (more general) guidance

Context

Includes gyms, personal training activities, leisure centres, sport centres, sports clubs, dance studios and other indoor sports facilities.

Undertaking a Coronavirus risk assessment is a requirement of the regulations and the workforce/unions should be consulted.

The regulations require face coverings in all indoor public places and on public transport (including taxis). This includes a very wide range of locations, including gyms and leisure centres, and anywhere that is open to members of the public. It also includes anywhere you go to eat or drink, like restaurants, bars or cafes (until you are seated).  It would also include any public areas within buildings that are otherwise closed to the public – for example a reception area of an office building

The reasonable measures below must be considered as part of the Coronavirus risk assessment.  This is not an exhaustive list, you may have developed/applied a robust reasonable measure that hasn’t been identified, if this provides the same level of protection you will be justified in using that reasonable measure.

When deciding which reasonable measures best apply to your situation you should:

  1. refer to the ‘hierarchy of controls’ - the aim should always be to apply the most effective reasonable measures. A combination of reasonable measures will offer the best level of protection if applied correctly
  2. consult with your staff and work representatives if applicable

The assessment should be regularly reviewed, in particular if the Alert Level is changed in the area where the business/activity operates.

Local authorities will monitor compliance with the Regulations so you can expect to receive a visit or phone call or e-mail from your local authority enforcement officer regarding your risk assessment and the reasonable measures you have implemented in your setting.

NB: it is not the role of local enforcement officer to approve your risk assessment and approach to reasonable measures.

Specific risks

Busy indoor places could pose a significant risk of spreading coronavirus if appropriate reasonable measures are not maintained, such as regular and thorough cleaning. It is important that businesses which operate facilities of this nature appreciate that the pandemic is not over, and that people gathering in these facilities could lead to a significant increase in cases of coronavirus. Many of those who use these facilities will be aware of this and wary of the risk.

While risks will vary depending on the type and size of the facility, and will depend on the number of people using it, the following risks will be typical:

  • close physical interaction, including queuing in close proximity to others before entry and while inside, for example at the reception area, lifts, toilets, changing rooms or outside exercise/dance studios
  • increased likelihood of mixing and face to face interaction, for example in contact sports/activities, exercise or dance classes and post-match gatherings
  • raising of voices over loud music or the noise from the use of gym equipment, increasing risk of aerosol transmission, for example in exercise or dance classes
  • potential for poor ventilation, particularly problematic where people spend prolonged periods together (indoors) and mix with others in these venues

What reasonable measures should I consider taking to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus?

While it is unlikely to be possible to mitigate the risks completely in settings of this nature, some measures are highly likely to be reasonable.  Where a measure is reasonable, it must be taken.

You should consider whether the following measures are reasonable to take. The measures you take should be informed by your assessment of the risk of coronavirus spreading from use of your vehicles or premises and tailored to your specific circumstances.  The Welsh Government has produced a standard template for coronavirus risk assessments, and there is further information available to support you provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Reduce the chance of coronavirus being present

  • Requiring staff and (where feasible) customers/members/clients to take a test before they enter premises.
  • Requiring staff and (where feasible) customers/members/clients to show that they have been vaccinated before they enter premises.
  • Asking customers/members/clients if they have been vaccinated, have recently been tested or if they have COVID-19 symptoms before they enter premises.
  • Informing customers/members/clients and staff that anyone who is symptomatic, has tested positive, is awaiting a test result or has been asked to self-isolate by NHS Wales Test Trace Protect, must not enter premises.

The best way of preventing spread of coronavirus in any premises is to reduce the risk of the virus being on the premises in the first place.

Prevent crowding

  • Limiting numbers or controlling movement of people so that where possible, customers/members/clients can safely distance themselves from others. For example limit capacity in exercise or dance studios, use one way systems to walk around the premises and control the movement of people coming together in confined areas such as toilets and changing rooms.
  • Controlling entry and exit points to prevent people coming together.

Limit your capacity

  • Where this is economically viable, reducing the number of people who may be inside your premises at any one time. Limiting numbers will reduce the extent to which close physical interaction will occur, in particular by reducing the potential for crowding.
  • Spreading people evenly across the venue so that they don’t gather in disproportionate numbers in one room or space.

Help Test, Trace, Protect

  • Understanding the role the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect system has in monitoring and controlling the virus.
  • Keeping records of staff, customers and visitors to support the NHS Wales TTP Service.

Customer/Member behaviour towards the reasonable measures implemented.

Remind customers/members and participants of their individual responsibility to support the sector in making the environment and activity safe and controlling the coronavirus. Key messages should include:

  • not attending a gym, leisure centre, sports club, dance studio or other sports facility if they feel unwell, have COVID-19 symptoms, have tested positive for COVID-19 or are awaiting a test result
  • understand and respect the conditions in which their trainer, coach or instructor and other staff are working to protect them and other participants and colleagues from COVID-19 infection
  • providing correct contact details and following TTP (Test, Trace, Protect) rules if it is later found that they have come into contact with someone who has had COVID-19 while at the premises
  • wear a face covering when required
  • using hand sanitisers and hand washing facilities regularly
  • maintaining physical distancing where required

You have a legal obligation to provide information to those entering or working at your premises about how to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus. This includes, in particular, information to all those present about their risk of exposure to coronavirus identified in the risk assessment and the measures to be taken at the premises to minimise this risk.

Keep your premises clean

  • Thorough and regular cleaning and disinfection of hand contact surfaces, including all sports and training equipment, cleaning after each member/client, end of shift cleaning, disinfection of screens, barriers and other exposed surfaces. This should be strictly implemented with particular attention paid to correct dilution rates, contact times and suitability of chemicals used.
  • Minimising the number of surfaces and objects people can touch. For example in leisure centre cafes or club dining areas, limit contact with menus, use apps to order and pay for food or drink, use contactless technology.
  • Placing hand sanitisers in multiple locations, particularly at entry points and elsewhere at key touchpoints, and providing automated soap dispensers, water and paper towels in washrooms.
  • All trainers, staff and customers should wash their hands regularly, this can be supplemented by applying hand sanitiser. Employers should provide an adequate supply of hand sanitiser, liquid soap and disposable hand towels.

Keep the noise down

Lowering the volume of any music played, for example in exercise classes, to reduce the need for people to shout or bring their faces close together to talk.

Improve your ventilation

  • Enhancing airflow by opening windows and propping open internal doors (but not fire doors) where possible and consider maximum capacities.
  • If there is a lack of natural ventilation, ensuring mechanical ventilation systems provide 100% fresh air and do not recirculate air from one space to another.
  • Make sure mechanical ventilation systems are effectively maintained and have been serviced.
  • Monitoring CO2 levels to identify areas where ventilation may be poor.

Encouraging use of outdoor instead of indoor space.

Links to key guidance

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