From sweaty machines to shared locker rooms, hygiene and cleanliness are issues that gyms, yoga studios and fitness centers deal with on a daily basis. Now, with mounting concerns of a coronavirus outbreak preying on Americans’ minds — not to mention flu season — the industry is looking to reassure gym-goers and step up standards.
As Washington state’s health department confirms its 10th death from coronavirus and California reports its first fatality, gyms and studios across the nation are reaching out to customers to encourage healthy practices to ward off the spread of germs. An email from Equinox, the luxury fitness club chain, reminded visitors to “help keep yourself and others healthy” by thoroughly washing hands for at least 20 seconds; staying home when sick; covering coughs and sneezes with tissues; wiping down machines with disinfectant wipes and avoiding touching one’s face.
The email obtained by Yahoo Lifestyle also revealed Equinox’s commitment to improving cleanliness by disinfecting its clubs more frequently.
“At Equinox, the health and safety of our employees and members is our top priority,” the statement sent from Equinox president Scott Rosen read. “With that in mind, we are taking additional steps to be extra-vigilant amid peak flu season and growing concerns around coronavirus.
“Currently, Equinox disinfects all club areas with a hospital-grade solution at the end of every day. We are also introducing additional mid-morning and mid-afternoon disinfects as an extra precaution.”
YogaWorks, which runs dozens of studios nationwide, also pledged to be more vigilant about keeping its spaces clean in an email to students.
“Our day-to-day cleaning procedures are already very comprehensive, but given the current situation, we are increasing our in-place processes to keep our facilities a safe and welcoming environment for all students and staff,” an email obtained by Yahoo read. “Along those lines, we have increased our professional cleaning schedules, have updated and increased our in-house cleaning by current staff to clean and sanitize frequently touched surfaces, props and equipment multiple times a day and are asking all staff and students to refrain from coming into the studios when ill.”
Pure Barre, the national chain known for its barre workouts, sent its members a similar assurance.
“We have always been committed to the safety of our clients and the cleanliness of our studios,” an email from the company read. “We have our staff diligently cleaning using hospital-grade cleaning solutions during class breaks and at the end of the day, in addition to our professional cleaning services. Hand sanitizer, towels, tissues and disinfecting wipes are provided at all of our locations.”
In addition to upgrading its sanitizing process and working with instructors on “best hygiene practices,” the dance workout chain 305 Fitness requested that members do their part to keep germs at bay by washing hands, coughing into the elbow “if you’re sporting a crop top” and “swap high fives and handshakes for booty bumps for the time-being.” In return, the chain offered to be “extra-flexible in returning class credits and waiving late cancellation/no-show fees” to encourage members to stay home if they’re feeling sick.
Kripalu, a yoga and wellness center in Massachusetts, also offered leniency in granting class credits to members needing to reschedule a class because they present symptoms or are at risk of virus exposure.
“When you do come to Kripalu, it is important that we work together as a community and support one another over the coming weeks,” an email to students read. “We ask that you bear in mind that someone wearing a protective medical mask is not necessarily sick.”
Fitness centers also advised gym-goers to consult the CDC for updates and advice.
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