Gyms are now open, except in Phase 1 states. Here are the gym SOPs to follow.

Gyms in Phase 2, 3 and 4 states are back in operation. Here are the gym SOPs for gym operators and users.

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Gym owners and operators can finally breathe as gyms in Phase 2, 3 and 4 states have been allowed to operate starting 17 September 2021. For those in Kedah – the only state in Phase 1 – keep calm. Kedah is moving to Phase 2 on 1 October! To gym operators and users, here are the gym SOPs to follow.

Gyms are now allowed to operate in Phase 2, Phase 3 and Phase 4 states. Gym SOPs must be followed.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu tweeted about the reopening of gyms for business on 17 September 2021.

States allowed to reopen gyms

As mentioned, gyms in all states except those in Phase 1 can now reopen. These three indicators determine the phase of each state or territory:

  1. The average number of daily Covid-19 new cases
  2. The utilization of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds
  3. The percentage of the fully vaccinated population*

*Note: Fully vaccinated individuals are those who have passed:

  • 14 days after receiving their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine (Pfizer/AstraZeneca/Sinovac/ Moderna/Sinopharm), or
  • 28 days after receiving their single dose of the single-dose Covid-19 vaccine (Johnson & Johnson/Cansino).

These are the states and territories by phase under the National Recovery Plan as of 29 September 2021. 

Phase 1 Kedah
Phase 2Pulau Pinang, Perak, Kelantan, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Johor, Melaka, Sabah
Phase 3Perlis, Pahang, Terengganu, Sarawak
Phase 4Negeri Sembilan, Labuan
Note: Phase 1 has the tightest restrictions. Restrictions are gradually relaxed for the following phases according to the government’s guidelines. 

In Phase 1 states, while gyms and fitness centres are not allowed to operate, indoor sports and recreational facilities can operate at 50% capacity and under close supervision.

Gym SOPs for gym operators

1. Ventilation

Based on the “Guidance Document on Ventilation for Gymnasium during National Recovery Plan” issued by the Health Ministry, these are the ventilation guidelines.

System specific recommendations

1. Air-conditioned spaces with mechanical ventilation (centralized air conditioning system with fresh air supply)
  1. Ensure all components and controls of the Centralized Mechanical Ventilation Air-Conditioning (MVAC) system are maintained and functioning accordingly.
  • Check filter seals to avoid bypass.
  • Change filters according to the recommended maintenance frequency.
  1. Open outdoor air dampers 100% to achieve a minimum of 10L/s per person.* Disable any Demand Control Ventilation (DCV) system in the MVAC to manually set the outdoor air dampers to open.
  2. Operate the MVAC system with maximum outdoor air intake for two hours before and after occupancy.
  3. Upgrade the existing Air Filters at the Air Handling Unit (AHU) to MERV 14 or higher MERV value.*
  4. Consider installing air-cleaning devices such as HEPA Filters, UVGI, Ionizer, Photo-Catalytic Oxidation (PCO) or other technologies in AHUs or ductwork.*

*Consult MVAC professionals to take into consideration your existing system’s capabilities.

2. Air-conditioned spaces without mechanical ventilation (non-centralized air conditioning system)
  1. Open windows and doors frequently to increase space ventilation rate and achieve a minimum of 10L/s per person.
  2. Keep the air conditioning system at a minimum usage or turn it off when windows and doors are open.
  3. Ensure exhaust fans function at maximum capacity.
3. Natural ventilated spaces
  1. Open windows and doors when people occupy the area.
  2. Open all doors and windows completely especially when the area is not occupied.
  3. Open windows or doors at opposite sides of the area and keep the internal doors open for cross ventilation.
  4. Face fans toward the windows or doors to blow air out or away from the windows or doors to blow air into the area.
  5. Consider using exhaust fans to increase ventilation.
  6. Operate existing exhaust fans at maximum capacity. Close the windows or doors near the fans to avoid air flow short circuiting.

General recommendations

  1. Reduce the number of persons in air-conditioned spaces, if the ventilation rate does not meet the minimum recommended rate of 10 L/s per person.
  2. Use air cleaners with particle filters of MERV 14 or higher or HEPA as an additional measure to filter and clean indoor air. The sum of Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) of all portable air cleaners and measured space ventilation rate shall be higher than the minimum recommended ventilation rate of the space (10 L/s per person).
  3. Install an additional mechanical ventilation system consisting of fresh air supply and/or stale air exhaust to comply with the minimum requirement of 10 L/s per person. Consider proper measures to avoid mold growth due to excessive humid air into the space.
  4. For restrooms, ensure exhaust fans run continuously. For restrooms without exhaust fans, consider installing exhaust fans or open existing louvres.
  5. Clean surfaces regularly, use air cleaners and improve ventilation.

Additionally, gym operators may also consider installing a Carbon Dioxide (CO2) monitoring device in high occupancy spaces to monitor a space ventilation performance. CO2 levels of around 400ppm for outdoor spaces, and CO2 levels of less than 800ppm for indoor spaces are indications of a well-ventilated space.

A sample of a Carbon Dioxide (CO2) monitoring device (Source)

2. Staff vaccination status

Gym staff must be fully vaccinated.

3. Staff capacity

  • Phase 2 – Must not exceed 60% of the workforce including management and operational staff
  • Phase 3 – Must not exceed 80% of the workforce including management and operational staff
  • Phase 4 – 100% capacity

4. Customers capacity

  • Phase 2 & 3 – 50% capacity (under close supervision)
  • Phase 4 – 100% capacity

5. Operating hours

  • Phase 2 – 6 am – 10 pm
  • Phase 3 – 6 am – 12 am
  • Phase 4 – Subject to the license conditions

Gym SOPs for gym users

Only fully vaccinated individuals are allowed to enter and use gym facilities. However, fully vaccinated parents are allowed to bring along their children aged 17 and below.

Follow the gym SOPs and stay safe

Enjoy working out at the gyms, but remember to strictly follow the gym SOPs. You don’t want to bring any virus home.

Also, protect yourself by getting adequately insured. At Bjak, you have the choice to customize your life and medical insurance plan to best fit your budget and needs. Visit Bjak for more information. 

(Sources: Free Malaysia Today, Guidance Document on Ventilation for Gymnasium during National Recovery Plan, Majlis Keselamatan Negara’s official Telegram, The Edge Markets)

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