Immunologist Answers Questions Submitted During Club Industry’s Town Hall about the Coronavirus

Coronavirus Spread
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Immunologist Dr. Rajesh Grover, Ph.D., answered questions related to the spread of the coronavirus on Club Industry’s second town hall on how the coronavirus is affecting the fitness industry. You can view the on-demand version of the town hall, which was held on March 19, by going here. Grover also answered how to keep members safe if your club is still open. Check out the four steps he suggests by going here

Below are some of the questions about the coronavirus submitted during the live town hall that the hour-long format did not allow to be answered, so Grover responded to these in writing afterwards.

Also on the town hall were Casey Conrad of Communication Consultants, who answered questions about marketing during this time, and Michelle Blakely of See Jake and Jane Train, who answered questions about virtual training. They will provide answers to questions related to their area of expertise that were asked but not answered during the live town hall, and Club Industry will post them soon.

Q: Can we offer private training at our club even though it is closed due to COVID 19? What about tennis lessons outside? This would be a one-on-one scenario.

A: If government rules allow it, then yes. Follow all the things said in the webinar. Self-assessment test (From University of Wisconsin Medical School). If you have a history of weak immune system, any other health pre-condition, then self-quarantine is a better strategy. 

Q: Can you get the virus just from being on the same cardio equipment floor with one infected person even if not next to you?

A: To keep it simple, I would close all the treadmills. One can use stationary bikes instead for cardio or any other machine where there is not huge surface area and easy to clean the surface with soap soaked towel. 

As far as virus transfer, it can be transferred a) through air either by sneeze and coughing 2)  if a surface is contaminated already and one touches the contaminated surface and puts their hands on face, mouth and nose then chances are very high that it can get into your body. 

Q: How long can COVID 19 live in metal/steel outdoor exercise equipment.  Is outdoor exercise equipment safe for customers to use during this time especially if they have not been wiped down between use with a disinfectant.  Will the UV kill the virus? 

A: The virus that causes COVID-19, can live in the air and on surfaces between several hours and several days. The study found that the virus is viable for up to 72 hours on plastics, 48 hours on stainless steel, 24 hours on cardboard, and 4 hours on copper. (Reference:

Q: What’s the best way to properly disinfect the equipment without using harsh chemicals?

A: Soap solution is good enough to kill the virus. (Reference:

Q: What is the best preventative measure?

A: Overall follow CDC guidelines. Preventative measure is different for different person. Self-assessment is the key. Know your immune system. If you have weaker immune system or have a health pre-condition you have to be extra careful. To keep yourself healthy, eat healthy, take appropriate supplements as recommended by your health care practitioner, sleep well, meditate, keep positive mind set and exercise. 

Q: Anyone having a cleaning company coming in and doing a cleaning after this is over to clear the dust from ventilation systems that have been running all this time?

A: Yes, that would be a good idea. 

Q: Did you already cover offering classes outside with less than 10 people total and keeping 6-foot distance between everyone?

A: Yes, if you take proper precaution. Follow CDC guidelines all the time. Check their temperature, give them self-assessment questionnaire and have them sign a waiver. 

Q: Should we have a waiver in place when they come?

A: Yes

Q: So 60 years old and healthy is OK to come in?

A: Depends on case to case, meaning their health status. It is a bit risky. General recommendation is no. It would be better if you do tele-training remotely. 

Q: What about allowing seniors only at certain hours?

A: No.

Q: If someone has the virus but symptoms are mild and they may not even know they have it (and they are under age 60), do they just eventually return to health naturally?

A: If they don't have weaker immune system or any health pre-conditions, obesity, diabetes, overall health, then most likely yes, their immune system will fight it off. 

Q: Can you reuse the soap-soaked towel between clients?

A: It might work, but the recommendation is use fresh soap-soaked towel for each client or give every client their own soap-soaked towel and a wet towel for the duration of the workout. After use, wash them in the washing machine and then have them ready again if you need circulation. Also, collect the used towel in a bucket of soap. 

Q: Would disinfectant maintenance programs be of assistance?  

A: Yes. 

Q: What do you suggest to make the members feel at ease?

A: Share that you care for your members. Share all the precautions you have taken in a short video, most likely in a question and answer format. 

Q: If a state says 25 people or less in a group environment, is it ok to manage that number at a smaller center?

A: Follow strictly CDC guidelines and what is shared in the webinar. Furthermore, maintaining 6 feet of separation is the key on the pre-health qualified (age, no pre-existing health conditions and no typical symptoms of COVID19) members that can enter the center. 





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