Guidance for Gyms and Fitness Centers in the City of St. Louis

Gyms, fitness centers, & related entitities protocols

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Guidance for Gyms and Fitness Centers in the City of St. Louis PDF

See also:

Health Commissioner's Order 9

These guidelines are intended to apply to personal training services, gyms/fitness centers, yoga/Pilates studios, and health clubs. Substantially similar occupations and businesses may also utilize these guidelines as appropriate.

These guidelines do not replace or supersede any requirements applicable to your business or licensed employees pursuant to law or regulation. Rather, these guidelines are intended as a supplement and assist with safely reopening and providing services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the nature of gyms and fitness centers, an abundance of caution should be exercised to mitigate or prevent exposure to respiratory illnesses (including COVID-19). Persons who are more vulnerable or at-risk for COVID-19 as identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — including those who are over the age of 65 or those who have severe underlying medical conditions — should take extra precaution or refrain from using close contact personal services during the initial phase of re-opening.

Gyms and fitness centers are able to open and operate no earlier than June 15, 2020. However, please know that this date may change if there is a resurgence in COVID-19 cases in the City of St. Louis.

The Workplace

  • Limit facility occupancy to 25% percent of capacity as dictated by fire code (as such capacity is adjusted in consideration of closed areas of the facility pursuant to these guidelines);
  • Restrict facility access to staffed hours only (i.e., any unmanned facilities must be manned)
  • Post signage at entrance that states that no one with a fever or symptoms of respiratory illness (including COVID-19) is to be permitted.
  • Limit the number of lockers that can be used within the locker rooms. Place signage throughout the locker rooms reminding persons to maintain six feet of distance from others.
  • Close all basketball courts, racquetball courts, and other places where a formal and informal group or team sports may occur;
  • Prevent usage of treadmills due to the increased risk of spreading respiratory illness (including COVID-19);
  • Any youth or adult team leagues or sports should remain closed;

Safety Actions

  • Promote healthy hygiene practices
    • Require that customers wash or sanitize their hands upon entering and leaving the facility;
    • Staff must wear facial coverings at all times except when alone in an enclosed space. Customers should wear a face covering when entering and exiting the facility, and in between workouts.
    • Post signs about how to stop the spread of respiratory illness (including COVID-19), properly wash hands, promote everyday protective measures,  and properly use a face covering in highly visible locations.
    • Keep doors and windows open where possible to improve ventilation;
    • Recommend that persons more vulnerable or at-risk for respiratory illness (including COVID-19) as identified by the CDC—including those who are over the age of 65 or those who have chronic medical conditions—take extra precaution when at the facility
  • Cleaning and disinfecting
    • Staff to conduct regular (i.e., every 2 hours) disinfecting of high-touch surfaces, equipment and common areas of the facility using disinfectant cleaning supplies according to CDC guidelines;
    • Ensure that staffing of facilities is sufficient to enable enhanced sanitization and cleaning measures;
    • Have adequate supplies to support healthy hygiene behaviors, including soap, hand sanitizer with at least 70 percent alcohol (for staff and customers), disinfecting wipes, and tissues.
    • Clean, sanitize, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (for example, shared objects, door handles, sink handles, drinking fountains) multiple times per day.
    • Require customers to clean equipment they come in contact with using disinfecting wipes before and after each use;
      • Encourage customers to use only one piece of equipment at a time (i.e., no circuits or “super setting”) so that machines are cleaned after use;
    • Close all machines/equipment that are not easily cleaned, sanitized, or disinfected.
    • Place several hand sanitizing stations throughout the gym
  • Ensure social distancing
    • Post signs throughout the gym to remind users of social distancing protocols
    • Arrange waiting areas to prevent guests from congregating in waiting areas.
    • Remove “unnecessary items” from the premises, such as magazines, newspapers, service menus, paper products, snacks, and beverages.
    • Adjust equipment layout and close or restrict access to equipment to maintain at least six feet of distance between equipment;
    • Only allow group fitness classes if classes can be completed in accordance with social distancing recommendations (including but not limited to: less than 50% capacity and with more than 6 feet of distance maintained between participants at all times; no shared equipment during the class; sufficiently adjusted class schedules to allow for deep cleaning between classes; martial arts and other contact activities should be completed without any person-to-person contact);
  • Limit sharing
    • Temporarily close water fountains, common areas, break rooms, check-in counters, where customers or employees may congregate. Encourage users to provide their own water;
    • No self-service options (coffee bars, smoothie stations, and other forms of communal food in facilities). Food retail should follow restaurant guidelines;

Monitoring and Preparing


  • Upon arrival at work, employees should be masked, and employers must conduct health checks (e.g., temperature and symptom screening) of employees at the start of each shift.Conduct health checks safely and respectfully, and in accordance with any applicable privacy laws and regulations. Confidentiality must be respected. Employers may use examples of screening methods in CDC’s General Business FAQs as a guide.
    • Screening should include 1) a temperature check if it can be performed with a touchless thermometer, 2) asking about the presence of fever, new or worsened cough, trouble breathing, new or worsening body aches, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell.3) asking if the employee has had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
    • Employees with a temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or above, or who answer yes to any of the screening questions must not be allowed to enter the workplace.Employees who develop any symptoms of COVID-19 while at work must immediately be sent home.Employees with symptoms should contact their healthcare provider for additional guidance.
    • Employees who are sent home with symptoms should not return to work until they have met CDC’s criteria to discontinue home isolation or they have been cleared to return by their healthcare provider.
    • Encourage staff to stay home if they are sick
  • Plan for when a staff member or customer becomes sick
    • Notify local health officials, staff, and families immediately of any possible case of COVID-19 while maintaining confidentiality.
    • Close off areas used by any sick person and do not use them until they have been cleaned. Ensure safe and correct application of disinfectants and keep disinfectant products away from children.
    • Advise sick staff members not to return until they are cleared by medical provider (MD, DO, NP, PA).
  • Maintain healthy operations
    • Designate a staff person to be responsible for responding to COVID - 19 concerns. Employees should know who this person is and how to contact them.
    • Create a communication system for staff and gym users for self-reporting of symptoms and notification of exposures and closure. 

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