COVID-19

Beginning on Friday, June 12 California will now allow campgrounds, RV Parks, outdoor recreation, cardrooms, racetracks, family entertainment centers, gyms, hotels, museums, galleries, zoos, aquariums, bars, and professional sports to reopen with modifications as part of Phase 3 of the four-phased roadmap to reopening businesses in the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These businesses will be permitted to reopen with approval from local public health officials. Each county will be left to decide when to roll out the next batch of the reopening process. Stanislaus County has moved forward with the reopening process allowing the new sectors to begin on Friday at 5 a.m. Dr. Julie Vaishampayan approved the reopening, but still cautioned business owners and residents that the risk of contracting the virus is still present. Members of the public should still practice social distancing, hand washing and wearing face coverings to help protect against COVID-19.

As with every other reopening process, each business will have to meet new standards and guidelines to adapt to the pandemic situation. Each guideline is based on social distancing and hygienic standards that are thought to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The state has updated its guidelines website to provide detailed information on how each industry will need to adapt. That website can be found at https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Guidance.aspx#

Stanislaus County has also provided resources via the Good 2 Go Stanislaus webpage. Local businesses can use the website to find resources on how to develop and train themselves to be best prepared and practices to help prevent COVID-19 from spreading as they look to reopen safely.

Guidance for gyms

Each industry is expected to be well versed in the proper procedures to maintain a safer work environment such as monitoring workers’ health, washing hands, wearing facemasks, and social distancing, but each industry is also asked to make specific adjustments before reopening to the public.

Fitness facilities are asked to try and implement a reservation system. That way, the business can monitor and control the number of people in the facility at one time. Gyms are asked to remind patrons that they should not use the facility if they or a family member are exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19.

Workers will be required to wear masks, but patrons will also be encouraged to wear face coverings. Employees are to encourage social distancing as much as possible, especially if the patron refuses to wear a mask.

Some examples of cleaning and disinfecting protocols are as follows according to state guidelines:

  • Equip entrances and exits, exercise machines, fitness rooms, changing rooms and locker rooms, and other areas with proper sanitation products, including hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, and provide personal hand sanitizers to staff who regularly engage with patrons(e.g., reception staff).
  • Require patrons to disinfect individual exercise equipment, mats, and machines before and after use with provided disinfecting wipes. Ensure that lined, non-touch trash receptacles are available throughout the fitness facility to dispose of used wipes.
  • If members are unable or unwilling to wipe/disinfect equipment after exercise, provide “ready to clean” tags for members to place on equipment after use, to ensure, equipment is disinfected by staff before the next use.
  • Consider implementing a check-out system for patrons to utilize any small equipment and accessories (i.e. exercise bands, ropes, mats, foam rollers, etc.). Develop a process to clean and disinfect these items upon return.
  • Wherever possible, install touchless, automatic water dispensers for use with personal, reusable water bottles or single-use, disposable paper cups. Display signage reminding staff and patrons that the bottle or cup should not touch the water dispenser. If a touchless water dispenser is not feasible, remind staff and patrons to wash their hands or use proper hand sanitizer before and after touching the water release button on drinking fountains.
  • Encourage patrons to bring their own towels and mats and consider disbanding the provision of any facility-provided towels or personal hygiene products.
  • For any towels, cloth wipes, or other laundered items that are used at the facility, follow CDC guidelines for those items. Provide a closed container where patrons can place used towels or other items. Ensure those items cannot be used again until properly laundered either by a commercial laundering service or a laundering process, which includes immersion in water of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 25 minutes. Store all clean linens in a clean, covered place. Ensure workers who handle dirty linens or laundry wear gloves.
  • Staff and patrons should avoid shaking hands, bumping fists or elbows, and other physical contact. Staff should also avoid sharing tools, phones, electronics, and office supplies as much as possible and, where feasible, ensure staff has dedicated workstations for their personal use. Never share PPE.
  • Consider installing portable high-efficiency air cleaners, upgrading the building’s air filters to the highest efficiency possible, and making other modifications to increase the quantity of outside air and ventilation in offices and other spaces.
  • Space equipment at least six feet apart, with greater distancing for treadmills and other high-exertion aerobic fitness equipment. Equipment can be arranged in an “X” pattern to provide greater distancing. Physical barriers can also be helpful in creating distancing or segregate exercise areas.
  • Equip the front desk area with Plexiglas or other impermeable barriers, if feasible, to minimize the interaction between reception staff and patrons. Implement virtual, touchless check-in tools, if possible, so that patrons do not have to utilize the reception space.
  • Consider suspending non-core activities, including retail operations, spa services, childcare, family programming, and foodservice. If fitness facilities operate such amenities, they should review the related guidance for these services on the COVID-19 Resilience Roadmap website.
  • Consider implementing special hours designated for high risk or medically-vulnerable populations, including seniors with admittance by reservation only.
  • Removing communal furniture and/or cordoning off member lounge areas. Staggering available lockers in locker rooms to maintain physical distancing.
  • Adjusting personal training so that the exercise instructor maintains a minimum of six feet of physical distance. Personal trainers must use face coverings, avoiding close contact. Patrons should be strongly encouraged to wear a face covering while receiving instruction.
  • Modifying group training classes to limit the class size to ensure a minimum of six feet of physical distance between patrons and/or move the classes outdoors or to larger spaces like full-sized basketball courts, if possible. Group exercise classes should only be offered if distancing requirements can be maintained, and there is no person-to-person physical contact.
  • High contact programs that require close contact less than six feet in distance should be suspended. This would include activities such as group sporting events, organized intramural activities, pick-up basketball, or organized races.

Guidance for bars

The guidance plan for reopening bars is similar to that of restaurants. The state guidelines have combined bars, tasting rooms, wineries and restaurants into one broad outline.

Employees, guests and visitors are to be screened upon arrival for COVID-19 symptoms. Employers have the right to cancel the reservation of any individual or party that has symptomatic guests. Face coverings are to be worn when not eating or drinking. Face coverings should be made available for customers who arrive without them.

Bars are expected to display a set of clearly visible rules for customers and personnel at entrances that are to be a condition of entry into the business. All workers are to use proper personal protective equipment, and they are also encouraged to wear disposable gloves and frequent hand washing.

Bars are expected to engage in frequent cleaning and disinfecting protocols on frequently touched surfaces and are asked to avoid sharing equipment such as phones, tablets, laptops, desks, pens and other work supplies whenever possible. Employers are asked to also provide menus via alternative methods such as displayed on chalkboards, whiteboards or digital boards to reduce the amount of contact between employees and patrons. If displayed menus can not be provided, then bars are reminded to clean and disinfect menus before and after customer use properly.

Other requirement examples are:

  • Thoroughly clean each customer dining/drinking location after every use.
  • Adjust maximum occupancy rules inside the establishment based on its size to limit the number of people inside and/or use impermeable barriers between service tables to protect customers from each other and employees. For outdoor seating, maintain physical distancing standards of at least six feet and as outlined in this guidance.
  • Limit the number of patrons at a single table to a household unit or patrons who have asked to be seated together. People in the same group seated at the same table do not have to be six feet apart.
  • Implement measures to ensure physical distancing of at least six feet between workers and customers/single groups. This can include the use of physical partitions or visual cues (e.g., floor markings or signs to indicate where employees and/or guests should stand).
  • Install physical barriers or partitions at cash registers, bars, host stands, and other areas where maintaining physical distance of six feet is difficult.
  • Discontinue seating customers and/or groups at bar counters, sushi preparation bars,etc., where they cannot maintain at least six feet of distance from employee work areas/stations.
  • Do not touch beverage container necks to cups, glasses, etc., when pouring wine, beer, or spirits.
  • Provide a clean glass for each tasting and, if possible, do not pour beverages into a glass that a customer has already used (smelled, tasted from, etc.)

Guidance for hotels

Hotels are also included in the next phase of the reopening process but must meet a series of standards before doing so. Along with the blanket recommendation regarding monitoring staff and guests for symptoms, as well as providing equipment to staff and guests, hotels are asked to keep other factors in mind, such as:

  • Properly clean all appliances and kitchen areas, including refrigerator shelving, the oven stovetop, coffee-makers, toasters, pantry shelves, and other areas.
  • Dirty linens should be removed and transported from guest rooms in single-use, sealed bags. Removal and cleaning of all towels and linens at the conclusion of each guest’s stay should include all items, regardless of whether they appear to have been used or not. These items should be bagged in the guest room to eliminate excess contact while being transported. All bed linen and laundry should be washed at a high temperature and cleaned in accordance with CDC guidelines.
  • Consider leaving rooms vacant for 24 to 72 hours after a guest has departed.
  • In the event of a presumptive case of COVID-19, the guest’s room should be removed from service and quarantined. The guest room should not be returned to service until the case has been confirmed or cleared. In the event of a positive case, the room should only be returned to service after undergoing an enhanced sanitization protocol in accordance with CDC guidelines.
  • Employees should not open the doors of cars or taxis.
  • Guest room service, laundry, and dry-cleaning services and amenity deliveries should be made available using contactless pick-up and delivery protocols wherever possible.

PI reporter

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