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Updates

1/11/22: Updated to reflect changes to the County Health Officer Order which, effective January 17, 2022, require employers to provide medical grade masks to employees who work in indoor settings and in close contact with others.

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Introduction

Given the ongoing community transmission of COVID-19 and the presence of new and emerging variants, a layered approach to prevention that includes masking indoors, full vaccination with a booster dose, if eligible, and good ventilation, is essential to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

Per published reports, factors that increase the risk of infection, including transmission to people more than 6 feet away, include:

  • Enclosed spaces with inadequate ventilation or air handling that allow for build-up of exhaled respiratory fluids, especially very fine droplets and aerosol particles, in the air space.
  • Increased exhalation of respiratory fluids that can occur when an infectious person is engaged in physical exertion or raises their voice (e.g., exercising, shouting, singing).
  • Prolonged exposure to these conditions.
Below is a summary of best practices for gyms, fitness centers and other businesses that offer indoor space for exercise to enhance safety for their workers, customers, and communities, and lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission within their establishments.
In addition to this information, please remember:

Please be sure to read and follow the general guidance for businesses & employers.
The specific best practices below are intended to supplement the general guidance.

Follow mask rules for employees and customers
Wear a mask
  • Customers: Require all customers, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks when they are indoors. Customers may temporarily remove their masks while swimming or showering. Make masks available for customers who arrive without them. Businesses are responsible for messaging, signage, and compliance with all masking rules.
    • Ensure that customers wear their masks indoors, even while exercising.
    • If the gym or fitness center has food or beverage service, follow Food and Beverage Services Best Practices Guidance.
    • If guests or customers cannot tolerate the wearing of a mask while inside a sauna or steam room, it is recommended that the facility allow only single use of those facilities.
N95 respirator
  • Employees*: Require all employees, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks when working indoors and in shared vehicles. Masks need not be worn indoors if the employee is alone in a room or actively eating or drinking at a seated or stationary location. If employees must eat indoors, they should be distanced at least 6 feet from other persons.
    • Employees who work in an indoor setting where they are in close contact with other people must be provided with and required to wear a medical grade mask, surgical mask, or higher-level respirator such as an N95 or KN95 at all times while at the worksite or facility.
    • Upon request, employers are required to provide unvaccinated employees with the correct-size N95 respirator for voluntary use along with basic instructions on how to use the respirator. Respirators must be replaced if they get damaged, deformed, dirty, or difficult to breathe through. For more information about free and low-cost PPE for businesses and organizations see: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/docs/FreeAndLowCostPPE.pdf.
    • Consider requiring staff to also wear eye protection in addition to an N95 respirator if they are not fully vaccinated and are in close contact with customers.
    • See the Los Angeles County Health Officer Order page and the Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards page for more information about mask requirements. Please note that the directives in the LA County Health Officer Order must be followed when they are more stringent than the Cal/OSHA temporary standards.
* Some independent contractors are considered as employees under the State Labor Code. For more details, check the California Department of Industrial Relations’ Independent contractor versus employee webpage.
Screen customers
Screening
  • Post signage to remind customers that they should NOT enter if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or if they are under isolation or quarantine orders.
  • All customers who are admitted to the indoor portions of a gym, fitness center and other exercise facility located in the city of Los Angeles must show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 prior to entry. Visit the SafePassLA website and FAQ page for more information.
Reduce crowding, especially indoors
Social distancing
  • Maintain your outdoor service area to enable greater occupancy outdoors where ventilation is better.
  • Consider limiting occupancy in smaller rooms, such as locker rooms, weight rooms, restrooms, and saunas, to reduce the build-up of respiratory fluids in these areas.
Ventilate
Improve ventilation
  • Make sure your building’s HVAC system is in good, working order.
  • 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 all working areas.
  • When weather and working conditions allow, increase fresh outdoor air by opening windows and doors. Consider using fans to increase the effectiveness of open windows - position window fans to blow air outward, not inward.
  • Decrease occupancy in areas where outdoor ventilation cannot be increased.
  • Keep your background music volume low so that customers and employees do not have to talk loudly to be heard.
  • See State Interim guidance for Ventilation, Filtration, and Air Quality in Indoor Environments.
Support handwashing
Wash hands
Communicate
Communicate
  • Post signage so that visitors who are entering your establishment are aware of your policies, including the requirement that all customers wear a face mask while indoors..
  • Use your online platforms to communicate your COVID-19 safety policies to the public.

 


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  • Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.

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