COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, has been spreading across the world for the past few months. Many sporting events in Asia and Europe have already been postponed or cancelled. Coronavirus has affected even the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and talks are ongoing as to what to do for the Games in the event that the disease is still surging this summer. The virus has made its way to American shores in recent weeks as well. Because of this outbreak, those of us in the sporting world are left with this question: how do I prepare my facility for Coronavirus?

Regular Cleaning and Sanitation Protocols:

Pretty much every gym you’ll enter focuses on maintaining a sanitary environment. Disinfectant is found all over the place, and it’s general gym etiquette to wipe your equipment after use. However, many facilities go above and beyond during disease outbreaks. According to the World Health Organization’s newest situation report (as of March 4, 2020), there are now over 93,000 confirmed cases of Coronavirus around the world.

Many experts agree that the best way to avoid COVID-19 is to wash your hands regularly. Tara C. Smith, professor of epidemiology at Kent State University, expressed the importance of hand-washing to Men’s Health. “If you touch the surface that has a virus on it and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes, you basically inoculate yourself with the virus,” Smith said. “That’s where hand washing comes in. That’ll eliminate that source of transmission.” This is also stresses the importance of wiping down machines and equipment after use.

Possible Facility Closures Due to Coronavirus:

As previously stated, many arenas and stadiums have been closed off to the public already in Asia and Europe. If the disease continues to spread here in North America, larger facilities that host popular sporting events may need to consider the same approach. The NCAA has created a Coronavirus Advisory Panel ahead of this year’s March Madness tournament. Two schools have cancelled road games due to the outbreak as well.

The NBA sent a memo to all 30 of its teams with recommendations on how to contain the virus. The recommendations will likely impact games, autograph signings, and more. Raheem Mostert, running back for the San Francisco 49ers of the NFL, recently cancelled an autograph signing.

Faithful,

Due to the recent outbreak of coronavirus in the Bay Area, I have decided not to attend the signing on March 8th at the Santa Clara Convention Center. With that said, most of you know Devon and I have an 8 month old son, Gunnar. Today, we are excited to announce we are expecting baby ‘MOST’ #2 this fall. As a husband and father, it is my job to put my family first. Thank you all for your understanding. I will make it up to you soon!

— Raheem Mostert

@RMos_8Ball on Twitter

What does all of this mean? Facility managers must be prepared to clean their spaces more frequently, cancel events, or even to close their facilities if necessary in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Just Be Mindful:

As a flooring contractor, we’re in and out of athletic facilities all day every day. The most important thing for us, and for anyone who goes to the gym, attends a sporting event, or participates in sports, is to remain mindful. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, keep hand sanitizer readily available, and wash your hands. If you feel sick, avoid public places.

We must all do our part to stop the spread of Coronavirus so we can get back to doing the things we love: whether it’s going to games, working out, or just playing a pickup game of basketball.