Physical distancing means maintaining an appropriate amount of space between individuals. (14,15) Look to your local public health authority for the recommended distance in your area. When analyzing your facility's layout, keep in mind you need to account for both staff and guests. Always examine potential choke points and constrictions to allow for adequate physical distance, and not only in certain areas or at certain times.


  1. Local authorities may mandate how many people you may have in your facility at any one time.
  2. In the absence of mandated rules, consult what respected recommendations exists and adapt them to the needs of your own business.
  3. Additionally, look at a floor plan for your space and determine what capacity will allow for appropriate physical distancing.
    • Calculate the square footage per-person based on your local distancing requirements as a circle with an individual in the center.
    • Lay those circles over your useable space, and not inaccessible areas, e.g. behind your walls, water fountains, or shelving.
  4. Consider treating different areas or zones separately. You can limit the number of people allowed in certain areas differently, e.g., yoga studios, lockers, toilets, and even specific climbing areas.
    • If you divide your facility into zones, make sure that there is adequate signage and communication about the limits in each are
    • Staff should be able to monitor the occupancy levels of these various areas and instruct customers to disperse as necessary.
  5. Be conservative in your initial estimates; monitor the flow of your customers when you reopen; fix and adjust as needed.
  6. Stay abreast of developments in mandates and recommendations; allowable or acceptable building capacity could fluctuate over the course of the pandemic.


  1. There are many ways to regulate the number of people in your gym at any given time. Before choosing a method consider how it will affect your business model, your community’s perception of your gym, and your future operations.
    • Limiting access to members only could make controlling access easier.
    • Many gym operating systems and online booking systems allow for reservations and prepayment of timeslots.
      • Time limits, if any, can vary entirely. CWA research shows that in the US and Canada the average visit to a gym is 2.3 hours.
    • When not using reservations, signage at the entrance and the gym’s website could display real time occupancy. Consider also using social media or video footage to display or communicate foot traffi
    • Account for appropriate waiting areas and queues should be considered for when occupancy limits at a particular time are hit.
    • A combination of these approaches could be deployed to allow for some walk-in traffic and some reserved climbing
    • Consider breaks in a daily schedule to allow for cleaning.


  1. Consider using separate entrance and exit points.
  2. Any queues should account for physical distancing.
  3. Inside of your facility you could designate specific lanes and directions of travel.


  1. Routesetting can be used to encourage physical distancing.
    • Include lowering areas, fall zones, and walkways in your planning.
    • You may introduce more space between routes or lines.
    • Distance can also be created over time, rather than in space, e.g., have certain routes or colors assigned to specific days.
    • For boulders, physical distancing rules, etiquette, and total capacity in a given area can be used instead of lowering density.