While hygiene and proper physical distancing will be the cornerstones of reducing risk, direct cleaning has a role to play (1), particularly when it comes to creating a place staff and guests feel comfortable being in. Below are ideas for cleaning your facility; but you should consider overall presentation as well. Reducing clutter, brightening your space, removing broken or excessively worn items, and fresh paint can help communicate the overall level of care you are taking, making all stakeholders more comfortable.
- When looking for cleaning agents make sure that you are using chemicals that do not react with any of the materials you are cleaning and that you do not mix chemicals.
Pay close attention to the instructions for any products you are using. There is usually a dwell or contact time required for proper disinfection. The EPA, in the US, has released a list of disinfectants that are effective against the COVID-19 virus.
When necessary or recommended for cleaning, require or provide employees with proper PPE such as gloves and masks. For a complete list of required PPE for employees, refer to your most relevant occupational health and safety organization.
Consider increasing the frequency of cleaning in your locker rooms and restrooms
Prior to reopening, consider thoroughly cleaning your entire facility. While the risk of active virus is likely very low ( 2, 3), particularly if your gym has been closed for a long period of time, making a good first impression on returning staff and guests could go a long way.
CLIMBING ROUTE MAINTENANCE
- Climbing holds and walls cannot be cleaned between ascents or daily in a manner that eliminates transmission risk. The impracticability of sanitizing holds between each ascent can be mitigated by climbers rigorously adhering to proper personal hygiene practices (9,10, 21).
- While the primary mode of transmission of the novel coronavirus is through airborne droplets, there is a possibility, however remote, of transmission from surface contact. (6,7,8, 21).
- Instruct climbers to disinfect their hands prior to climbing.
- Proper climber hygiene should also include frequent hand washing, proper respiratory etiquette, and refraining from touching the face, particularly during and immediately following climbing.
- Educate customers and staff about what hygiene is expected. Staff should monitor climbers throughout opening hours and enforce your policies as necessary.
- Cleaning when routesetting
- Routesetters can take additional precautions when stripping walls, preparing holds for storage, or washing holds by wearing proper PPE such as masks, gloves, and eye protection—some of which they may already be accustomed to wearing in certain scenarios pre-Covid-19.
- Consider adding a cleaning agent into the hold washing process. Water and soap should be sufficient (16,17); however, any cleaning agent should be used in accordance with the hold and cleaning product manufacturer’s guidance.
- It may be possible to quarantine holds as well prior to more rigorous cleaning.
CLEANING CLIMBING EQUIPMENT
- Customer supplied equipment
- Encourage customers to use their own equipment and not share items.
- If customers choose (or you direct them) to clean their personal climbing equipment, remind them to consult the manufacturer’s instructions for doing so.
- Rental equipment and products
- Most rental equipment, e.g., shoes and harnesses, can be disinfected through either cleaning, quarantining, or a combination of the two.
- If you are offering rental gear, there are several possible strategies.
- If you choose to clean rental gear pay attention to the compatibility of any cleaners with the materials you are disinfecting. Always follow the manufacturers recommendations.
- You can quarantine any rental gear issued (2,3) prior to reissuing it for use and then follow your normal cleaning procedures.