As we are all aware the coronavirus is here and is real.
Worksafe, The Department of Health, Victorian Council of Social Services and many other organisations have put out safety precautions for protection and reducing the risk of infection for our clients, our staff and our ownselves.
From a Professional Pilates standpoint, the following guidelines should be used in line with your own state and federal hygiene, OH&S recommended practices. This document will cover recommended practices that are relevant to an APMA registered Pilates teacher. These recommendations may change and are current as of the 13th March 2020.
First and foremost, as Pilates Teachers we are responsible for the health of our clients, our staff and of ourselves when providing a Pilates service. As Pilates Teachers we should follow the recommended guidelines of personal hygiene, hygiene of all equipment, hygiene of our clients whilst using our services.
If relevant, as a business owner it is important to identify potential risks and hazards and put in place relevant practices such as a WHS policy that you can easily refer to regularly especially at this time (risk matrix). When we are in a state of panic a written policy can be referred to, in order to make sure we have covered everything, for example, identifying focus areas including equipment hygiene (small and big equipment), business premises cleaning, cross-contamination risks (e.g. Kitchen, mugs, etc), office hygiene, etc
Be clear when you need to activate your risk matrix and close business. Be prepared, and most of all remember to be kind and work with your Pilates community rather than panic and take actions you may regret.
Keep emergency numbers at hand, keep client notes and update diaries as that will help identify any potential clients/staff that may be infected.
Be positive, with a plan and stay calm. Being level-headed will ensure everyone using our services are as safe as can be as well as supported. Focus on the people around us that make up our business rather than just the virus itself.
- Have a clear policy about hygiene and stick to it. We all have a duty of care to our staff, clients and our own health. This should be one of main priority over any other considerations.
- If you, your staff or clients feel unwell i.e. cough, sneeze, runny nose, take self-isolation recommendations seriously and stay away from the Pilates studio.
- Remember to wash hands with soap and water. Remind Clients and yourself regularly to avoid touching your face.
- Physical contact: this is very relevant to Pilates Teachers, reconsider physical contact while we are in a pandemic and if you handle clients, make sure you have client consent, wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer. Even consider getting clients to wear clean socks to reduce cross-contamination for example.
- Consider using verbal or visual cues more than tactile cues.
- Consider what needs to happen if someone lets you know that they are infected or have been exposed to the virus. Consider re-organising your business plan and when and how you operate as a business.
- Be sensitive to everyone’s mental health, support staff, be transparent in your decisions and policymaking. Talk and communicate with clients and staff.
- In your risk matrix, revisit the section on cross-contamination
- Disinfect all equipment in the studio (small or large)
- Clean blankets, towels and reconsider their use during the pandemic etc
- Consider the use of equipment that can be cleaned regularly and for each client
- Consider asking clients to bring clean towels to place on equipment and mats to reduce contact with equipment.
- Consider the use of socks even though you may prefer barefoot exercise regularly
- Be prepared to lose some clients during this time
- Consider spacing classes so you have time to clean equipment between classes or make sure disinfectant is available for clients to use and wipe some equipment such as mats.
- Consider asking clients to bring their own mats, towels and TheraBand’s.
- Consider adjusting the times of your classes so all your clients and staff are not working at the same time – stagger class sessions if possible.
- If any client or staff is infected make sure you follow up with them and identify anyone in your Pilates community that needs help and refer them on to another professional if needed.
- Be prepared to postpone events and workshops as the pandemic may get worse rather than better in the short term.
Make sure you stay safe and healthy