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Guidelines for sport and active recreation businesses

In response to the changing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the Northern Territory Government has implemented a staged lifting of restrictions.

From noon on 15 May 2020, the following businesses, services and activities can reopen:

  • participate in organised outdoor training activities for sporting clubs and teams
  • operate or attend a studio that provides yoga, Pilates, Zumba, barre, dance classes
  • operate or attend physical training activities indoors such as CrossFit and
  • operate and attend a gymnasium.

However, the Chief Health Officer (the CHO) has placed further requirements on the reopening of businesses that provide sport and active recreation services (a business).

These requirements are specified in CHO Directions No 30 – Directions to Close Certain Business, Places, Activities and Services and Directions for Safety Measures at Reopened Businesses, Places, Activities and Services (the Directions).

CHO Directions and mandatory requirements

The business must comply with the requirements specified in the Directions.

Under the Directions, a business must:

  • complete and submit to the Department of Health a COVID-19 safety plan checklist before reopening and
  • place markings on the floor of its premises where participants may queue (for example, at the entrance, bathrooms or service counter) before reopening and
  • provide hand sanitiser to participants unless handwashing facilities are available.

The CHO’s directions are laws and it is an offence to contravene a direction of the CHO.

It is important that you keep informed about the Directions of the CHO and any requirements or restrictions which relate to your type of business.

In addition to the mandatory requirements under the Directions, the following information may be helpful to assist businesses in reopening.

How coronavirus (COVID-19) is spread

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is spread from person-to-person through close contact and droplets including:

  • Direct contact with infected persons.
  • Contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze.
  • Touching contaminated objects or surfaces (like doorknobs or equipment), and then touching your mouth or face.

The best way to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and protect your business is through maintaining good hygiene practices and following physical distancing principles.

Things you should do

Before reopening, you should review all aspects of the business that may increase the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission.

This will allow your business to apply practical measures to reduce risk of infection between staff or to the general public.

Two hour time limit

A business should limit the time a customer remains at the business to 2 hours per visit. This is intended to assist with contact tracing in the event of an outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Hygiene practices

It is important that everyone involved in sport and recreation activities take responsibility for their health and hygiene practices to keep the community safe.

The manager of a business should provide training to staff on hygiene practices and any procedural changes that have been implemented to avoid spread of the virus.

Staff, volunteers and participants should:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitiser, before and after activities, after going to the bathroom, and after touching your face or hair.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.
  • Avoid touching areas that have been in direct contact with participants.
  • Encourage participants to bring their own water bottles.
  • Advise participants to wipe down shared equipment.
  • Any staff member or volunteer with a suspected communicable disease (such as coughing, sneezing, flu-like symptoms) should be excluded from the workplace.

Staff members and volunteers should not attend work if they are unwell.

Managers should advise staff members and volunteers to go home if the staff member or volunteer is unwell.

Participants with a suspected communicable disease (such as coughing, sneezing, flu-like symptoms) should be advised not to attend activities.

Wearing gloves

Washing hands regularly or using hand sanitiser will offer more protection against coronavirus (COVID-19) than wearing gloves.

If you are feeling well, there is currently no need to wear gloves, other than as part of the business's normal food safety practices (such as handling ready to eat foods).

It is important to change gloves regularly between activities and wash hands thoroughly between glove changing to prevent contamination from used gloves onto the fresh gloves.

Wearing masks

If you are feeling well, there is currently no need to wear a protective mask. People should practise good hygiene and physical distancing in their workplace.

Physical distancing

A business should:

  • Arrange the venue layout of the business to maintain 1.5 metres between participants.
    Example: Exercise stations and equipment in a gym should be spaced 1.5 metres apart.
  • Discourage certain training or playing conditions or behaviours that do not support physical distancing such as team huddles or handshakes.
  • Prevent participants from crowding together at the beginning or at the end of sport or recreational activities.
  • Manage the entry and exit points of the business so that participants are not queuing at these points.
  • Display, at the entrance to the business, the number of participants that may be inside the business in order to maintain physical distancing.
  • Place signage around the business to remind participants and employees to maintain hygiene practices and to go home if the participant or employee is feeling unwell.
  • Place signage around the business to discourage participants crowding together in any one area of the business.
  • Businesses should provide, if possible, separate areas for assembly, warm up and cool down activities.
  • Encourage participants to remain 1.5 metres apart when moving through the business.
  • If there are times where participants need to be closer than 1.5 metres apart, ensure the time spent in close contact is minimised with particular focus on minimising face-to-face close contact, which should be less than 15 minutes face-to-face.

Cleaning and disinfecting

During the pandemic, extra cleaning should be carried out throughout the business. You should keep your place of business clean and sanitised by taking the following measures:

  • Maintain thorough cleaning and disinfecting of facilities and equipment.
  • Participants should wipe down shared surfaces after use e.g. gym and exercise equipment.
  • Clean common use areas and shared surfaces more frequently. This could include door handles, benches, bathrooms, service counters, and sporting and gym equipment.
  • If you think a surface may be contaminated, clean it with a common household disinfectant.
  • Increase cleaning regimes for all areas within the business. Consider whether aspects of the Australian Government cleaning advice will add anything to your cleaning and disinfecting procedures.
  • If applicable - wash and sanitise all food preparation containers, utensils, chopping boards.

Cleaning products

Use a disinfectant which the manufacturer claims can kill viruses.

Chlorine-based (bleach) disinfectants are one product which is suitable.

Read the label and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dilution and usage.

Bleach solutions should be made fresh daily as they become less effective over time.

The recommended concentration of available chlorine for routine disinfection of cleaned surfaces is 1000ppm as this concentration has been shown to be effective against the majority of microbial pathogens.

Physical barriers

In certain situations, a physical barrier such as widening the counter can be used to help maintain physical distance between people.

Opaque or clear screen dividers of a suitable material that can be easily cleaned and disinfected can be used to create separation between people.

These barriers should be appropriately designed and installed and be a size that creates protection for the person, especially around the face area.

Rubbish disposal

The risk of transmission of COVID-19 when handling waste is low.

Normal collection of waste for households, retail and other businesses continues.

When managing waste, the following hygiene practices should be followed:

  • Items should be placed in a rubbish bag before disposing of them with other domestic waste.
  • Hands should be washed with soap and running water or sanitised an alcohol based hand sanitiser immediately after handling these items.

Payments

Promote cashless payments. However, if cash is exchanged, hands should be washed with soap and water, or use a hand sanitiser after handling money.

Communication

It is important to communicate your COVID-19 safety steps with officials, teams, participants, parents and carers.

Provide updates on social media or via emails and provide signage and information at venues.

Encourage all your staff, volunteers and participants to follow these guidelines in their daily life to keep our community safe.

More information

Contact Environmental Health COVID-19 Compliance on 1800 095 646.

Further information on food safety and coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found on the Food Standards Australia New Zealand website.

Get COVID-19 information for workplaces on the Safe Work Australia website.