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What you should know about condo gyms and COVID-19

As BC moves into Phase 2 of it’s post-COVID-19 reopening plan, the closures and restrictions put in place by the regional health authorities are beginning to relax. Many condominium and strata boards are unsure what their responsibilities are when it comes to minimizing the chance of contagion in their common areas and shared facilities, like on-premises gyms, pools, and other shared social spaces.

Veronica Franco, a lawyer with the Clark-Wilson law firm, says that the “duty of care” to keep buildings clean and sanitary remains with the strata board. This duty of care includes sanitizing these common areas, but also common touchpoints like elevator buttons and door handles.

Tony Gioventu, the executive director of the Condominium Homeowners Association of BC, says that strata buildings must adhere to “a very high level of caution” when it comes to reopening these common spaces, citing guidelines issued by the regional health authorities and WorkSafeBC. “The same rules are going to apply in gathering places that are interactive, whether it’s gyms, pools or meeting spaces.”

Effective May 19th, the Fraser Health Authority announced a change in its order on indoor gyms and fitness facilities (which included those inside strata buildings and condos). This updated order states that any facility reopening must involve development of a plan that follows safety measures laid out by the provincial health officer and WorkSafeBC. These guidelines require physical distancing, equipment disinfectant, and potentially even a staff member on site to monitor activities.

Gyms are especially vulnerable to secondary contact contamination with COVID-19 for several reasons. Gym users are more likely to have direct hand contact with the floor during certain exercises like push-ups and yoga, are more likely to have placed items on the floor that they then handle directly (like gym bags and water bottles), and touch more surfaces on average in a single session than any other type of room. As such, COVID-19 brought into a gym space via footwear is more likely to be spread than in other types of common areas.

You can help stop the potential spread of COVID-19 in your condo gym with the use of a sanitizing mat system, like Grizzly Sanitize. Sanitizing mats treat incoming footwear as they enter a space, and help to neutralize that source of secondary infectious contact.