Gyms set to return indoors

GUIDANCE: A RETURN TO INDOOR GYMS FROM 25TH JULY

Dear Members,

World Kickboxing Organisation (WKO) would like to update Members and Clubs on the latest Martial Arts specific guidance following the UK government’s announcement yesterday (9th July) that indoor sports facilities and gyms can open in England from Saturday 25th July.

This news is a positive step in the right direction, but all in the Martial Arts community should be aware that there remains a long way to before things return to any level of normality.

Our priority remains the safety and wellbeing of our WKO Membership – martial artist, coaches, officials, volunteers – and staff, meaning that returning to full contact training and competition will be a gradual process and only when government regulation and advice permits.

By its very nature, given the close contact, martial arts poses a greater risk from COVID-19 than most other sporting activities. This reality is reflected in international advice as well as in this country. 

We also have to recognise that some members of the martial arts community are more vulnerable to this virus than those in other sports.

We ask that you bear with us during these challenging times and please observe the guidelines that have been put in place for the benefit of everyone.

WKO has produced a guidance documents to help indoor gyms reopen, with the WKO website under the Covid-19 page.

We will also provide further advice and documents as it becomes clarified and available.

The key points of the document are summarised here:

Indoor gyms / martial arts clubs can reopen from Saturday 25th July, subject to them not being situated in an area where a local lockdown is in place and the appropriate procedures and guidelines are put in place.

Wherever possible, to minimise risk, training outside remains the preferred option.

A risk assessment, for which WKO have provided the paperwork in advance, must be carried out by those responsible for the running of a facility and securely kept. 

You will need to measure your eligible training space. Each member requires a 10ft by 10ft (100sqft) to train indoors. A 9 by 9 tatami area is 144sqft.

This will help calculate the maximum number of people inside an indoor gym at any one time and help in considering how to operate safely and minimise the risk.

So a 1000sqft training area is fit for purpose for 10 members to be able to train indoors and maintain social distancing requirements.

A deep clean of a facility must be carried out before reopening, as well as ongoing cleaning before, during and after activities and individual use of equipment.

Social distancing of at least two metres must be maintained in all directions and at all times. For the avoidance of doubt, the one metre+ does not apply in gyms because of the extra risk of transmission presented by the physical exertion of training.

Training sessions should operate at a reduced capacity – taking into account social distancing guidelines - and be staggered with, preferably, each training group remaining in the same training bubble. 

Facilities should contact members in advance to arrange sessions and only allow members to enter who have pre-booked to do so.

Due to social distancing and the increased risk of exertion, face-to-face and close contact pad work, sparring and competitive boxing of any kind is not permitted until advised otherwise by WKO.

Everyone attending the gym must leave their name and contact details (email, telephone number, address, session date and times) when attending each session. 

This is so cases of COVID-19 can be tracked and traced. The facility should then securely keep these details for 30 days before destroying them.

Everyone participating in a session should get changed at home beforehand and return home before showering. Wherever possible, changing rooms should not be used.

Members should bring their own water bottle and towel and not share them during a session.

Toilet facilities should only be used on a one in, one out basis, maintaining social distancing at all times. Appropriate hand sanitiser should be provided and toilet facilities cleaned down after each use.

 To help implement the new guidelines, WKO has produced a series of A4 posters that can be downloaded, printed off and put up in gyms, helping attendees remember the key points of the new gym regulations.

All resources are currently online at: https://www.worldkickboxingorganisation.org/covid-19

As soon as we get updates they will be posted on the website, the other side is here and we look forward to working with you again.

We are only a call or email away if you need any advice, guidance or support.

Yours in Sport Jon Green 6th Dan WKO World President

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