Guidance for Operating a Pilates/Yoga Studio Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

By Insights Team

In light of the circumstances that have developed, we are sharing the guidelines for Pilates and yoga studios as life returns to some level of normalcy. The purpose of these measures are to protect employees and clients from infection, make the physical workspace safer and implement processes that lower risk of liability to our studios.

We advise that studio management assumes that all people coming into the studio are immunocompromised. There is no way to know if, for example, someone has diabetes or is newly pregnant and it is our responsibility to ensure the safety of our clients and staff in every way we can.

These guidelines will be in effect during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic and may be adjusted as necessary. All studios should adhere to local and federal government operating restrictions.

All guidelines are based on regional and industry determinations as well as CDC guidelines and OSHA's "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19"as a guide for operating.

Distancing Controls

A new maximum capacity of four persons per 300 square feet of studio space should be strictly observed.

All clients should wear face coverings that cover the nose and mouth.

A six foot distance should be maintained between all persons in the class, including the instructor.

All apparatus will need to be adjusted accordingly. The apparatus can be arranged in a zigzag for added separation. An instructor's walking path should be marked on the floor along with optimal standing points to ensure the instructor keeps an appropriate distance through the class. Six foot distancing should also be observed by all administrative and front desk staff. All lockers should also be spaced appropriately.

The class schedule should ensure the start and end times of overlapping classes in different rooms of the studio have at least a 15 minute window between them to avoid having a group of people checking in or gathering their things to leave at the same time.

Private sessions and classes should be shortened to no more than 45 minutes to allow for cleaning between sessions and prevent students from crossing paths. Clients should not enter the studio more than 15 minutes before their session. When using elevators please ensure that no more than 1 person is in the lift at a time.

Apprenticeship observation should not be permitted in studios - remote observation should be made available whenever possible. Apprentices should not be permitted in the studio unless they are scheduled to take a session or for practice teaching.

Front Desk staff should ask each client entering the studio the following questions:
  • Have you had a cough?
  • Have you had a fever?
  • Have you been around anyone exhibiting these symptoms within the past 14 days?
  • Are you living with anyone who is sick or quarantined?

    Should a client answer any of the above questions in the affirmative, they should be sent home immediately and not allowed to return to the studio for 2 weeks from last known symptoms/exposure.

Disinfection Protocols

The front desk area, all studios and hallways should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected prior to opening.

Use disinfectants that are EPA registered and labeled as bactericidal, virucidal and fungicidal. Products are not labeled for COVID-19 yet, but many will have human coronavirus efficacy either on the label or available on their website - this should be checked. The EPA has approved any product that has tested as effective against human coronavirus. If in doubt of the effectiveness, check the EPA website. (https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2)

Disinfectant only works on a clean surface so clean all surfaces and tools with hot soapy water or cleaning wipes before disinfecting.

Contact time on label must be observed for disinfectant to work. Contact time refers to how long the disinfectant is visibly wet on the surface allowing it to thoroughly destroy all of the pathogens. Typical contact time for immersion/sprays is 10 minutes, for disinfectant wipes it is 2-4 minutes.

Disinfection is for hard non-porous surfaces, glass metal and plastic. Porous/soft surfaces can not be disinfected and must only be used once and then discarded or run through a washing machine. For this reason, all straps and porous Pilates accessories should be covered with a vinyl covering.

We advise you to provide clients the ability to purchase foot straps and other Pilates accessories to bring with them to their sessions.

Routine disinfection is required of frequently touched surfaces such as all equipment, tablets, tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks, and touch screens.

Launder all linens and towels in hot soapy water and dry completely at the warmest temperature possible. Store all used/dirty linens in an airtight container.

Studios should keep the windows open to air the space out. Air purifiers should also be running when possible.

Reception Area Protocols

Remove all unnecessary items such as magazines, brochures, service menus, any other unnecessary paper products and decor. Wipe down all seats and tables; cloth chairs cannot be properly cleaned and disinfected, a plastic cover should be used where necessary. Wipe reception desk with disinfectant. Have new clients sign an online waiver to do away with any paper that was previously being used.

Employees should frequently wash their hands after using the phones, computer, cash drawer and/or credit card machine. Wipe these surfaces between each use.

Avoiding the exchange of cash can help greatly in preventing spread of virus, but if this is unavoidable, be sure to wash and sanitize hands well after each transaction. The use of credit/debit transactions is preferred, especially utilizing touch/swipe/no signature technology.

Clean and disinfect all retail areas, daily, including products. Post signage requesting clients to try to not touch merchandise they will not be purchasing.

Clean and wipe all door handles and other surfaces that are regularly touched by clients and staff with disinfectant wipes.

Provide hand sanitizer, disposable masks and tissues for employees and clients.

Floor stickers and signage should be placed in the front desk area and outside the bathrooms to provide guidance to maintain a six foot distance.

Restroom Protocols

Showers should not be accessible through the initial phases of opening. However, the showers do still need to be regularly disinfected.

Clients should be informed that they will need to come dressed ready to practice. Changing rooms will need to be sanitized after each use otherwise.

Regularly clean and disinfect all restroom surfaces including floors, sinks, mirrors and toilet bowls.

Store all paper products in closed cabinets.

Provide antibacterial hand soap and post signage to inform clients how to effectively wash their hands.

Place a trash receptacle near the doors and remove anything that does not have to be in the restrooms.

Administrative Controls

Employees who are sick will be expected to stay home.

Instructors should not make any physical adjustments to clients to correct their form. Instructors should not put straps on clients, or guide pedal, carriage etc. Management should provide training, educational materials for no contact teaching.

Management should provide training, educational materials, and reinforcement on proper sanitation, hand-washing, cough and sneeze etiquette, proper PPE usage, and other protective behaviors.

Instructors and staff should wash their hands as per CDC guidelines upon entering the business premises. This requirement should hold when re-entering after leaving for a break, etc.

Instructors and staff should be required to wear face masks at all times, or face shields ideally. Clients should also wear face masks.

We hope these guidelines help you to make prudent decisions when operating a boutique fitness facility during the current pandemic. Please contact Power Pilates for any concerns or questions regarding these studio guidelines.
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