Climbing Walls Reopening in England July 25th
- Wednesday 22nd July 2020
Following the recent government announcements climbing walls in England can reopen from July 25th onwards.
As we have previously reported, the Association of British Climbing Walls (ABC) has been working hard during the lockdown with other bodies, including UKActive, on draft guidelines that climbing walls can adopt when they reopen. These guidelines have now been finalised and published/issued to climbing walls to assist them when they reopen.
The ABC’s guidelines are compliant with those produced by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport which have been written in consultation with UKActive, Sport England, Sport and Recreation Alliance, National Governing Bodies, Public Health England and the HSE.
Reviewed by a virologist and approved by the BMC, the ABC’s guidelines are based on three principles:
• Capacity Management
• Social Distancing
It is intended that individual climbing wall operators should use the ABC’s guidelines as a minimum standard to develop their site-specific protocols and operating procedures. Climbing walls can apply to use a Covid-Safe kitemark assuming that they meet the minimum standards specified. A monitored scheme, this is a nationally coordinated campaign by Visit Britain and the Department of Culture Media & Sport that is relevant in all four devolved nations and intended to inspire confidence in returning consumers.
Some of the new procedures will relate to visitors whilst others are staff-specific; all are aimed at reducing the risk of transmission of Covid-19 between customers and staff. Straight off the bat, visits to walls will be different post-Covid. Whether it’s advance booking of time slots, hand sanitising, reduced visitor numbers, closed changing rooms and showers, closed-off routes or increased ventilation climbing walls will operate in a different way going forward when they reopen. How long the restrictions will remain in effect will be dependent upon how the pandemic runs.
Many climbings walls have been posting on social media in the recent day outlining when they will be reopening and what their changes are. Prior to your first visit, it wouldn’t be wasted effort to check online to see what the individual walls are saying.
The ABC’s reopening guidelines are reproduced in full below:
• PHE (or equivalent) posters will be on display informing customers and staff of social distances and cleanliness/hygiene protocols throughout the facility.
• Operators will commit to the wellbeing of their staff and customers, and if they show/have any signs of Covid-19 (temp, cough, difficulty breathing), they will be sent home to follow Government regulations.
• Operators will comply with any health designation documentation that the government implements.
• Hand sanitizer and/or soap will be available for both staff and customers to use on entrances and around the gym.
• Encourage customers to adhere to social distances with point of sale, information and Staff ‘floor walking’. Further criteria is below for certain areas.
• Face masks will not be mandatory unless government requires this.
• It is down to the individual customer to take reasonable personal responsibility for social distancing when taking part in climbing and belaying.
• Queue management. Gyms will ensure two-metre spacing markers on the floor and if necessary, outside the entrance.
• Climbing walls will reduce their capacities to 1 person per 9 sq metres of space. This includes circulation, toilets and changing areas.
• If time slots are used, customers will be managed in and out the centre to ensure social distancing measures are adhered to.
• Any taught courses that are run will be undertaken with full adherence to social distancing guidelines and after a specific risk assessment has been completed.
• Continue rigorous cleaning procedures.
• If Covid-19 case in facility, operator will follow the PHE Guidance – ‘COVID-19 – Cleaning in non-healthcare settings’ while cleaning all areas of the facility.
• Staff will carry out regular cleaning throughout the premises, particularly of points of frequent contact.
• Hand wipes/sanitizers will be on offer (or people will be directed to where they can clean hands).
• Gloves are not mandatory: WHO advice is that it is preferable not to wear gloves but to regularly wash your hands.
• Processes will be put in place to make sure social distancing remains in place for reception staff – e.g. protective screens.
• All gyms will be encouraged to keep changing rooms and showers closed.
• Extra care will be taken and signposting deployed to maintain social distancing when in these areas.
• Lockers will remain in use, as long as social distancing can be maintained. Spray and cloths will be available for customer use at common touchpoints.
CLIMBING GYM AND WARM-UP AREAS
• Wherever reasonably possible ground-level equipment will be cleaned regularly by the venue, customers will be asked to clean equipment immediately after use – e.g. exercise bikes, weights in warm-up areas, pull up bars, etc. Sanitising cloths and sprays will be provided.
• In the case of climbing holds, which are part of the infrastructure of the centre, these cannot be cleaned between uses. They will be cleaned only when removed from the wall before being replaced.
Customers should be encouraged to use good hand hygiene with sanitiser available around the centre. This is in common with other facilities such as schools, public transport, trampoline parks and playgrounds, etc.
• At all times we will ask customers to use their own best endeavours to keep the centre clean. This will be on top of the regular cleaning schedule.
• Extra signage regarding social distancing will be in place around warm-up, stretching, free- weights or training area.
As per the government guidelines, in Section 5 it states that restricting capacity to 1 person per 9 square meters of usable space will allow for ventilation of 20L per second, per person in venues with no mechanical ventilation system. Climbing walls will ensure appropriate ventilation through either natural or mechanical means. They will use CO2 monitors where necessary to ensure adequate airflow for both customers and staff.
• Cafes, restaurants and bars will re-open when Government restrictions allow and will operate under any guidelines issued by PHE or other national health authorities.
• Additional signs will be put up communicating appropriate cleanliness and social distancing measures.
• Vending machines will remain in place but will be cleaned regularly.
• Government guidance on Coronavirus protocols for food businesses will be followed.
FIRST AID/RESCUE AT HEIGHT
• Although there may be heightened concerns around first aid, this will continue as normal. The below adaptations will be used when needed:
• Staff undertaking rescue at height will use suitable PPE
• Gloves and resuscitation face masks will be provided to all first aiders for emergency first aid
• Face masks for general first aid
• The Resuscitation Council UK has provided specific guidance on CPR delivery which walls are advised to communicate to all first aid staff and duty managers.
• Operators to follow Government guidance for office staff. Card/contactless payment will be promoted.
• Operators may want to consider additional steps for any clientele over 70/with underlying health conditions.
• All external contractors are to follow Social Distancing and cleanliness Guidelines.
For more information on the reopening guidelines including links to essential government advice click through here to go to the ABC website.