Ontario announced today amendments to its Stage 3 regulations as they pertains to the operation of gyms. While the province is easing off some restrictions, it is maintaining many of them and is making best-practice recommendations.
Fitness facilities continue to be considered “higher risk” and condos should consider implementing and following these provincial protocols.
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Precautions still required
The amended regulation still requires:
- two metres distance be maintained between those in the gym;
- any equipment that is provided for the use by users of the facility must be cleaned and disinfected between each use;
- Activities where fixed structures cannot be cleaned and disinfected between each users cannot take place;
- All facilities must follow applicable worker health and safety requirements as outlined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act in addition to any applicable municipal bylaws.
A new guide has been launched by the province for sports and recreational fitness facilities. It recommends, amongst other precautions:
- Proper signage to remind the users of proper hand hygiene and health etiquette;
- Providing alcohol-based hand rub;
- Removing all equipment that cannot easily be cleaned or disinfected;
- Encouraging patrons to bring their own equipment, and limiting the sharing of equipment;
- Increasing cleaning frequency;
- Cleaning equipment between each users;
- Decreasing touch points (such as keys, lockers, etc…)
- Ensuring physical distancing; Consider putting signs and cues up or on the floor, and consider increasing distance for high intensity exercise with rapid inhalation and deep exhalation (such as … AGM and board meetings?);
- Implementing staggered schedules, considering online booking, blocking time to clean the facilities;
- Improving ventilation systems and avoiding air recirculation.
Screen your users!
Screening your users is still key:
- Implement active screening of your users;
- Consider using Ontario’s Covid Self-assessment tool;
- Consider online screening prior to the user’s arrival on site;
- Those who present symptoms or risks should not be allowed to use the gym;
- Keep record of all individuals (including names, contact information, dates and times) who enter your facility.
Consider implementing an online screening and booking process for your users ahead of their arrival and keep track of your users!
Good news: I know of many condos who are already following all of the above!! Keep it up!
Corporations can continue to apply their own protocols
Ontario news release reminds us that :
Businesses, not-for-profits, and municipalities may need or choose to take more time before implementing this change in capacity limits. Facilities may also adopt their own protocols that are more restrictive than the guidance.
Truer words have never been spoken. Indeed, corporations continue to be responsible to control, manage and administer the common elements and they continue to be responsible, at law, to take reasonable steps to ensure the reasonable safety of those entering the premises. Ultimately, if there is a community flare up, the corporation (as the occupier of the common elements) will be asked tough questions: What precautions did the corporation take to reasonably protect those on its premises?
In our view, the answer cannot be: users use at their own risk. Neither can a corporation impose on its owners a waiver or a release. Corporations cannot offload to owners their obligations to make their common elements safe to use.
In our post of July 13 on this same topic, we listed a couple of questions that corporations should ask themselves prior to opening their fitness rooms.
Let’s keep our eyes on the ball, folks!