Reopening Your Facilities: A COVID-19 Guide to Lettings

Welcome to our Vivify guide to safely reopening sports and leisure facilities.  We’ve broken it down into 5 key sections to help guide you through this challenging time!  If you feel you need more support or would like to discuss the specifics of your venue, feel free to get in touch

  1. Risk Assessing & Facility Grading 

  2. Reopening Strategy

  3. Staff training 

  4. Hirer communication 

  5. FAQs & Useful Links 

Risk Assessing & Facility Grading 

Your venue will be unique, with independent circumstances and facilities.  One thing we all have in common is the wish to keep our staff, students and hirers safe.  With this as our top priority, it’s crucial that we risk assess each and every step towards the reopening of lettings.  

We have put together a Risk Assessment bespoke to the leisure lettings industry using a template provided by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).  You can find it here.

Additionally, to allow you to make informed decisions about the reopening of your facility, we have outlined risks specific to each facility below.  

Your facilities may differ slightly to the ones outlined above, and you may be able to implement actions to help mitigate risk, allowing you to lower the Risk Level displayed above.  

We suggest doing the above exercise for your facilities prior to opening.  

Reopening Strategy

Once you have assessed the risks of your facilities, along with any measures required to mitigate risk, the next step is to lay out a clear timeline for reopening.  This will help to give your hirers and community realistic expectations about when they can resume their favourite activities.

Staggering the reopening of your facilities based on risk level is a great way of seeing processes in action, but in a manageable way.  We suggest laying out a timeline similar to the below, so that you can ensure the correct procedures are in place.  

Week 1

Outdoor Facilities

Week 2

Sports Halls & Activity Rooms

Week 3

Theatres & Drama Studios

Week 4

Swimming Pools*

Week 5

Review Processes & Government Guidance. Complete Second Risk Assessment

Week 6

Classrooms/Meeting Rooms

Week 7

Fitness Studios

*Research shows that COVID-19 cannot survive in chlorinated water, so if you have processes in place for changing room cleanliness then you may wish to open your pool sooner

Staff Training 

In order to execute the actions suggested by your risk assessment, it’s important that your staff receive thorough training.  We have put together some materials to help you with this.  

Why not have all employees complete our online training on their first shift?  It even has a quiz at the end to check that they have taken on board all information.

There are also a lot of great training resources on the WHO website.

Hirer Communication 

A lot of hirer groups will have felt the strain throughout the closure just as much as venues.  It’s important that we’re as transparent as possible throughout the reopening.  

If your venue is listed with Vivify, we’ll handle this section for you, so feel free to skip ahead! 

Keeping your hirers up to date with proactive communication will not only support them, it will make it easier for them to communicate your processes to all participants, ensuring a smooth reopening.  

As an example, why not provide hirers with the following information prior to their first booking? 

  • Timeline for facilities reopening 

  • Copy of your Risk Assessment & Processes 

  • Up to date government guidance 

  • FAQ’s 

At Vivify, we also offer our hirers round-the-clock support from our customer contact centre.  However, if you’re unable to offer this, it’s recommended that you provide contact hours for any customer queries.  

With regular bookings, it is also a good idea to ask each affiliated club or activity to appoint a Covid Officer, who can be the key point of contact for procedure updates or new government guidance.  For single bookings, we recommend that the person making the booking resumes this role.  

FAQs & Useful Links 

We have put together some useful FAQs for our hirers below.  Make sure that you check your processes are the same as ours before passing them on! 

What happens if one of my participants tests positive for COVID-19? 

We ask that you inform us as soon as possible so that we can contact all impacted hirers through our track & trace system. .

My usual facility is not currently open, what are my options? 

Give our customer service team a call, or go to our website and we’ll be happy to talk through our other facilities with you, to help you find another suitable space for your activity. 

If there is a confirmed COVID-19 case in a different booking, will my booking be cancelled, and will I receive a refund? 

If there is a confirmed case in a different booking, your booking would not be cancelled.  All venues have strict cleaning measures in place to prevent contamination where possible. 

How can I prepare for reopening? 

We ask that you fully review your venue’s risk assessment and communicate any required actions to all participants prior to your first booking.  If your booking involves close contact, such as sports, then please consider how you will implement social distancing. 

If I have a confirmed booking, but a local lockdown is imposed on the area by the local council, will I be fully refunded? 

Yes.  If official government guidance is provided restricting your booking from taking place, then you would be fully refunded.  

If I am vulnerable or shielding, am I still able to use facilities? 

Government guidance from 4th September suggests that vulnerable people are no longer required to shield.  However, use of facilities is a matter of personal choice and should be done so responsibly. 

How can I help to keep my facilities safe? 

We ask that if you or a member of your household are displaying Coronavirus symptoms, that you do not attend any of our venues.  Additionally, we ask that you do not arrive early for your booking, and have vacated the facility by the time that your booking ends.  The regular use of hand sanitizer is appreciated. 

Details of local areas with restrictions in place:

How to book a Coronavirus test if you have symptoms:

Government Guidance on wearing face masks in education:

Guidance for parents and carers of children attending out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: 

Guidance on international travel and isolation periods:

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