In recent years, many people have been engaged in physical activities in order to enhance their own fitness and immunity. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department of Consumer Protection of the Executive Yuan (abbreviated as the DCP), which is concerned about the safety and rights of sports consumers, sent officials to check the epidemic prevention measures implemented by the physical fitness and sport centers. It was found that some operators need to enforce their measures. The DCP has notified the Ministry of Education to supervise relevant operators to enforce their epidemic prevention measures and remind consumers to implement their own health self-management.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread globally, confirmed cases have been piling up all over the world. Recently, infection cases in the gyms have even been reported in Japan and other countries and regions, causing public concern about the safety of indoor sports. Thus, from February 8 to 23, 2020, the DCP sent officials to visit 26 private chain gyms and public sport centers in Taipei City and New Taipei City. The inspection results of their epidemic prevention measures can be summarized as follows:
I.Private fitness centers (gyms) (15 in total):
All the 15 gyms posted notices regarding COVID-19 precautions, took the initiative to take the temperature of consumers, and service staff were also wearing masks and taking their own body temperature every day. However, there were the following deficiencies:
1.Active disinfection of hands: Alcohol disinfectant or hand sanitizer is available on-site, but only 5 gyms volunteered to disinfect and clean hands for consumers entering the venue.
2.Information on the condition of environmental cleanliness and disinfection of the business premises: All the operators said that they have enhanced the cleanliness and disinfection of the on-site environment, even disinfecting the fitness equipment and the surroundings every 2 to 3 hours. However, only 10 operators posted a short announcement that environmental sanitization has been enforced or all the equipment are regularly cleaned with disinfectants.
II.Municipal sport centers and attached sport centers of public facilities (a total of 11):
All the 11 sport centers posted notices regarding COVID-19 precautions, but there were still the following deficiencies:
1.Active check of body temperature: Only 3 operators took the initiative to take temperature of consumers.
2.Active disinfection of hands: Alcohol disinfectant or hand sanitizer was available on-site, and the bulletin or electronic bulletin board was used to remind the public to clean their hands, but only one operator took the initiative to disinfect and clean hands for consumers.
3.Information on the condition of environmental disinfection and cleanliness of the business premises: Only one operator disclosed relevant information on environmental cleanliness. Some said that they have enforced environmental cleanliness, disinfecting fitness equipment and the surrounding environment several times a day.
4.Service staff wearing masks: The service staff of 9 operators were wearing masks.
The DCP stated that the most important measures to prevent and control COVID-19 are to check temperature, wash hands frequently and wear masks if necessary. Considering the characteristics of fitness and sports venues in which consumers work out a lot, give off large amounts of body fluids, share fitness equipment with unspecified persons, and cluster intensively inside an indoor space, the DCP recommends the operators to implement the following measures:
★ Enforce epidemic prevention measures before entry of consumers and take the initiative to take temperature and clean hands for consumers.
★ Implement cleanliness and disinfection of the business premises and make information disclosure of it:
◎ The entire premises shall be disinfected and cleaned every day, and 75% alcohol disinfectant should be available for consumer use.
◎ Enforce the air filtration cycle and improve the indoor environment ventilation.
◎ After each class, every classroom should be disinfected and cleaned again.
◎ Disinfect all the fitness equipment with alcohol several times a day and post notices to remind consumers to clean the fitness equipment with alcohol before and after use.
★ Post notices regarding COVID-19 precautions. For example:
◎ Remind the public to implement self-health management, maintain good habits in cleanliness and sanitation, and seek medical help as soon as possible if they get fever, cough and other respiratory symptoms.
◎ Keep on tracking the pandemic information released by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), update it in a timely manner, and take appropriate response measures.