With the warm summer months upon us, kids out of school, and adults wanting to get in shape for swimsuit weather, it’s the time of year when gyms and athletic facilities are normally busting at the seams with activity. However, the “stay-at-home” orders and forced closings for non-essential businesses due to COVID-19, have disrupted routines for businesses and individuals alike.
Of course, these empty facilities have impacted the industry but for many organizations, the downtime offers the perfect opportunity for catching up on equipment repairs, evaluating cleanliness protocols, and scheduling routine maintenance and inspections without inconveniencing clients. Additionally, it allows staff members to stay busy and continue earning an income, while enabling facilities to improve various aspects of their business.
Keeping equipment and facilities maintained and cleaned is always important in reducing the risk of injury. Now more than ever before, the pandemic has raised awareness of the importance of cleanliness and disinfection and has resulted in stricter cleaning processes in the interest of everyone’s health and safety.
The need for maintenance, upkeep and inspections can vary widely based on facility type and services offered. Below is a checklist to get you started:
Most manufacturers provide maintenance and inspection recommendations for specific equipment. Likewise, the frequency of detailed care will also be dependent on the equipment age and how often it is used. Should you not have this information, consider consulting an expert inspector or trusted manufacturer.
Whether on playing surfaces or structures, safety padding should be carefully inspected for wear and tear and replaced as necessary. Because this padding is porous, it should be cleaned with a mild solution on a regular basis.
Take advantage of it not being in use and thoroughly have your staff clean it, paying special attention to those hard-to-reach areas. Otherwise, it can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria.
By addressing these details, it gives you a chance to update records and set future reminders. Whether you opt for a digital app or prefer to record recent cleaning dates, inspections, and repairs in a paper binder, the important thing is that you determine how often these processes need to take place and schedule reminders to ensure nothing is forgotten. Also, creating a SOP (standard of procedures) regarding cleaning, maintenance and so on will equip you with the step-by-step processes that can later be used as a training tool for new staff.
Follow Cleaning Guidelines
Prior to having staff clean anything, educate them on the appropriate cleaning practices, (remove comma) as recommended by the CDC and other governing bodies. First and foremost, everyone should wear gloves and a mask to protect themselves and anyone within a six-foot range. Respiratory droplets can easily spread the COVID-19 virus, so prevention is key.
In addition to cleaning specific areas and equipment, point out the importance of properly cleaning and disinfecting things that are touched frequently, such as handrails, door knobs, light switches, and so on.
Finally, more and more businesses are making preparations to reopen based on local, state, county or national recommendations. Training staff on the recommended safety precautions will help protect your business and reputation. Such processes include the following:
- Cleaning and sanitizing all equipment and room surfaces before and after each use.
- Practicing social distancing by limiting the number of people in a single space, based on room size.
- Removing excessive equipment and items to reduce cleaning time.
- PPE (personal protective equipment) including gloves and masks should be worn by everyone during downtime as well as when your facility resumes normal business. Whether it is before, during or after business hours, all staff, coaches, players and spectators alike should wear masks and use gloves for all activities.
As with all things in life, the way we look at things is a determining factor in shaping our attitude. Undoubtedly, these recent months have introduced us to many things that are out of our control, but rather than focusing on reduced income, view it as an ideal time for making improvements that will benefit your clients in the coming months, while also keeping your staff employed and involved during this important and historical time of change.