Keeping Sports Safe in the Time of COVID-19

Practicing sports or any physical activity is important for our body’s health. Practicing team sports has the added benefit of helping us develop social skills such as teamwork and healthy competition. Sports are among of the best activities anyone, child or adult, can spend their time doing because they help them stay active while also reducing stress in stressful times like right now.

The COVID-19 pandemic has, unfortunately, made practicing sports difficult for people, especially indoors, due to the need for social distancing and proper ventilation to control the spread of the virus. As this global health crisis progresses, this article offers some recommendations for keeping sports safe in the time of Coronavirus by disinfecting sports equipment and disinfecting sports facilities, as well as taking other important safety measures.

The most important aspect of keeping sports safe is for athletes to keep in mind how easily viruses spread in athletic facilities thanks to skin-to-skin contact while playing and shared equipment, so the best way to make sure everyone stays healthy is keeping surfaces and hands clean so there’s less chance for contaminants to transfer.

How to Disinfect Sport Equipment

Viruses can spread through shared equipment, such as balls, gloves, bats, rackets, helmets, and other protective gear. This is why it is so important to clean these items after each use. Additionally, according to the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), any equipment with damaged surfaces that can’t be adequately cleaned should be repaired or disposed of, and the use of any item considered difficult to clean, sanitize, or disinfect, should be discouraged.

Related: How to Disinfect and Sanitize Gym Equipment?

It is also recommended that players bring their own equipment, whenever possible, and avoid sharing personal use items like water bottles, towels, or clothing. If this is not possible, equipment should be limited to one group of players at a time, assuming that it will be cleaned and disinfected between uses.

To guarantee best results when cleaning and disinfecting sports equipment, our recommendation is to use a cordless sprayer or fogger paired with a government authorized disinfectant. For instance, a disinfecting device like the Cordless ULV Atomizer or the Disinfecto Electrostatic Sprayer with Ultra-Lyte Disinfectant should provide excellent results.

How to Disinfect Sport Facilities

Sports facilities, whether they are indoors or outdoors, should be disinfected thoroughly after each use, paying special attention to commonly touched surfaces and surfaces that come into direct contact with people’s bare skin.

To make sure this process is even more effective indoors, cleaning staff should make sure ventilation systems are operating properly, allowing for enough outdoor air to get in. However, if the only ventilation equipment available is a fan, it should be used with caution to minimize the chances of air blowing from one person to another person, since this can increase the potential spread of airborne contaminants. After all, the best way to ventilate a space is by opening doors and windows, if possible. If not, then using air filters or disinfectants is acceptable.

It is important to note the surfaces most likely to become contaminated in sports facilities, which are door handles, handrails, toilets and faucet handles, as well as counters, pin pads, and touch screens.

Read More: How to Rapidly Disinfect Workout Mats?

According to the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries of Ontario, increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces and common or shared spaces, such as washrooms, lobbies, change rooms, locker rooms, areas for workouts and classes is the best way to keep sports facilities safe.

The ministry also recommends utilizing only cleaning and disinfectant products that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN), are not expired, and are appropriate for use on the item that is to be cleaned and disinfected. Also, considering additional enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols for sports facilities overnight.

At Disinfect & Fog, our recommendation is to use disinfectants like Ultra-Lyte or Vital Oxide, both registered under a DIN, with sprayers and foggers for medium to large spaces such as our Heavy Duty ULV Fogger or our Big Blue Fogger, which are able to disinfect a whole indoors basketball court in a reasonable amount of time. These devices are cost-effective, easy to use, and reliable for larger disinfecting tasks.

How Can Athletes and Sports Spectators Stay Safe?

The short answer is by wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and using personal sanitizing devices, such as our SaniGO Sanitizer Wristbands and Mini Nano Personal Sanitizer Sprayer, which would allow them to keep their hands clean to effectively control the spread of COVID-19 and any other virus present on surfaces or airborne while they enjoy their favorite sport.

The long answer is that both athletes and sports spectators should, first, prioritize participating in outdoor activities over indoor activities and stay within their local area as much as possible, especially people with an increased risk for severe illness or existing health conditions, following guidelines by the CDC and Health Canada. If, after these considerations, a person still decides to participate in sport-related activities, they should follow the recommendations stated in the previous paragraph.

The CDC also indicates that spectators at sporting events should consider the number of COVID-19 cases both where they live and where the sporting event is taking place before deciding to attend and make sure to remain at least 6 feet apart from people from other households. Also, remember to wear a mask that completely covers their nose and mouth, avoiding crowds, and poorly ventilated indoor spaces, in the case of people who haven’t been vaccinated.

Overall, the best way to control the spread of COVID-19 at sporting facilities is to disinfect surfaces and hands as needed, keep some distance from others when possible, and getting vaccinated as soon as a vaccine is available. This way, hopefully in the near future, everyone can go back to practicing and celebrating the sports they love with other members of their communities in a truly safe and healthy environment.

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