On December 14, 2021, Owner Paul Roberts fell ill with symptoms related to COVID-19. Paul tested positive for COVID-19 two days later. Unfortunately, Paul had worked with over 20 members the day before. It’s been 15 days since Paul was first infected. But thanks to Sand and Steel’s COVID-19 Safety Plan, no members, and no employees were infected with COVID-19.1
Owner Paul Roberts remarks, “I’m relieved to see that our COVID-19 Safety Plan Worked. Although I wasn’t planning to be the original test subject. To protect our employees and members, we bought an armada of cleaning technology to fight the virus directly. We installed technology like Bi-Polar Ionization, HEPA Filtration, Air Quality Sensors, and Ultra Violet Disinfection. And, we sought out members and a community that cares about public safety. Had we not taken those steps, I’m all but certain we would have had a COVID-19 outbreak.”
In the interests of public health, we’d like to share our 7 Step COVID-19 Protection Plan so that others may implement it to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
1. Bi-Polar Ionization Fans. Bi-Polar Ionization Technology utilizes specialized tubes that take oxygen molecules from the air and convert them into charged atoms that cluster around microparticles, surrounding and deactivating harmful substances like airborne mold, bacteria, allergens, and viruses such COVID-19.2 The ions produce a chemical reaction on the cell membrane surface that inactivates viruses. We strategically placed our Bi-Polar Ionization fan equipped with a Plasma Air Ionizer (a recognized leader in Ionization Technology) down the center of the gym.3
2. HEPA Filtration. HEPA filters have scientifically proven to be effective at removing viruses and small particles from the air.4 Whereas, standard HVAC filters (even Merv-13) are too porous to be effective. HEPA filters need to have a dual-pass filter to prevent clogging, they need a specially designed fan to handle the pressure drop, and they need air-tight sealing to prevent leaking. We saw an instant improvement in our air quality sensors when we deployed Carrier’s Opticlean 1500 CFM HEPA filter air handler.
3. Air Quality Sensors. We have three Air Quality Sensors throughout the gym to monitor air quality changes during the day. We also use these sensors to track changes in AQI, PM2.5, & TVOC5 when we deploy new air cleaning technology.
4. Face Masks. Some states, such as Virginia, have not required people to wear masks in the gyms. That is a shame because facemasks not only protect you, they protect others from you. If everyone wears a facemask, everyone’s net exposure is reduced significantly. For this reason, Sand and Steel adopted a mandatory Face Mask Policy in October 2020.
5. Controlled Access. To prevent overcrowding, we require members to reserve open gym and fitness classes in advance. We limit open gym capacity to 1 person per 500 square feet. With fitness classes, we maintain a social distancing of 10 Feet.
6. Online Fitness Classes. Providing members with online personal training and online fitness classes is key to improving your gym’s safety. By delivering an at-home training model, you reduce the number of people who come in-person into your gym. Reducing the number of people coming into your gym lowers the risk of spreading COVID-19.
7. Foggers, Floor Sprayers and Ultra-Violet Mask Disinfection. For directly cleaning the air and the floors, we went with Ryobi’s Floor Sprayer and Fogger. We use Simple Green-D to aid in disinfection. We provide members with UV disinfection for their cellphone and face masks.