How will the new COVID-19 guidelines affect you as a class member from next week?
This is a very testing time for many industries. Wanting to do what is considered best practice to keep customers safe, but equally respecting everyone has their own views and opinions, so please bear with us in this transition stage. Let's hope the road ahead is brighter...
So, whilst the legal limits on social contact and distancing are being removed, there are still some legal requirements and official guidelines in place, along with precautions, that the fitness industry is now recommending instructors to follow to minimise the transmission of the virus, especially in indoor spaces.
It has been stressed to us that it is important to remember that there are still cases of COVID-19 in England (with case n
umbers currently rising quite rapidly) and there is still a risk of catching it and passing it on, even if fully vaccinated.
With this in mind, we have received the following recommendations from EMD UK/CIMSPA (the professional development bodies for the UK’s sport and physical activity sector). My personal added notes to these recommendations are added in italics...
COVID-19 Symptoms and Self-Isolation
You must still ensure that your customers do not have any coronavirus symptoms, and should not attend classes if they have any symptoms.
If you, therefore, develop a persistent cough, a high temperature, or loss of sense of taste or smell, then you should not attend class, self-isolate, and get a test. With the Delta variant, a headache, sore throat, and runny nose are n
ow the most commonly reported symptoms in the UK.
In England from 16 August, if you’re fully vaccinated or under 18, you will not need to self-isolate following close contact with someone who has COVID-19. You will still need to take a PCR test and self-isolate if it’s positive.
Please, therefore, continue to inform me if you do develop any COVID-19 symptoms so that I can let class members know out of courtesy.
Fresh air ventilation is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of transmission indoors. The Government guidance states that you should identify poorly ventilated areas in the venue and take steps to improve airflows, such as open doors, windows, and air vents where possible.
This is something I have strongly supported right from the start and will continue to do so in each class setting.
Cleaning and Hygiene
We recommend maintaining the hygiene and cleaning regimes you have established during the pandemic, including clean surfaces regularly (especially those that are being touched a lot), clean equipment between each use, provide hand sanitiser, and encourage customers to sanitise and wash their hands frequently.
I will be continuing with this as usual.
While there are no longer any legal requirements for social distancing, we recommend encouraging customers to keep their distance from each other wherever possible, especially those who have not been fully vaccinated or may be at higher risk.
The capacity limits for indoor facilities are no longer in place, but we would again recommend a sensible approach to prevent overcrowding and allow space for those who wish to maintain some degree of social distancing.
Please note as per my June newsletter, I will be keeping social distancing in place in class for the immediate future
until we know what develops with the rising COVID-19 cases.
The legal requirement to wear face coverings will be lifted however under the Government's guidance, we would still encourage the use of face coverings in enclosed public areas when not engaging in sport and physical activity, and for you to be supportive of any customers who would like to continue wearing one.
If you would like to continue wearing a mask to and from class then this is encouraged. Likewise, if you would prefer not to wear one, this will be respected. Please could I kindly ask if you can continue to remain 1m apart if socialising in the hall before and after class.
NHS Test and Trace
While it is no lon
ger a legal requirement, we would still encourage you to use the NHS Test and Trace app when running sessions, to support the test and trace system and for customers who wish to continue using it.
I will continue to keep a record of class attendance in each class and inform you should a class member develop any symptoms of COVID-19.
NHS COVID Pass
The Government is encouraging organisations in higher-risk settings to use the NHS COVID Pass as a condition of entry, in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19. This will especially be the case in large crowded settings where people are likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household.
The fitness, leisure, and physical activity settings are not considered to be in the higher risk category, so there is no expectation or requirement to use the COVID Pass.