Recreation Facility Reopening COVID-19

Reentering and Reopening Principles and Guide - Update 2020-06-01

The ORFA continues to monitor changes and challenges associated with the post pandemic reentry and reopening of recreation facilities. To ensure our members remain informed, the ORFA will release a series of update documents that are designed to support the original Reentry and Reopening Principles and Guide resource. More

Some confusion has occurred as the province provided direction regarding the reopening of some skating opportunities. As ice rinks were not considered essential services and were forced to close, they were then identified in Phase 3 of the reopening schedule. The ORFA has watched as some facilities have tried to reactivate operations and either had to shutdown or invest in additional training and resources. A reality check that reopening will not be simple and seamless.
ORFA reminds the reader that the information is provided as a general awareness to responsibility and an overview of practitioner approaches to meeting the challenges we are encountering. Application or adoption of any shared methods, techniques or applications are the responsibility of each operation to research thoroughly prior to implementation. 

Member Feedback – it is important to note that the actions of individuals in meeting the challenges may result in the development of “industry best practice” that may be used legally. Getting it right the first time will be important.


  • Facility management should consider resetting all access codes and re-securing any locking mechanisms
  • CDC shared that the general accepted clinical definition of an elevated temperature/fever is above 100.4°F – ORFA adds Q&A on the subject of taking employee temperatures. More 
  • Should a facility implement an entry screening program, staff must be provided with comprehensive training as well as clinical standard PPE
  • Wearing of masks should not be considered a replacement for social distancing but are proven to be a control of disease transmission. Issues surrounding the fogging of eyeglasses and interference with hearing devices are being raised
  • Contractors that are expected to wear any disease transmission reduction PPE must be given clear direction as to what types are acceptable to be worn
  • Worker health and safety are at risk with workload burnout and that makes them vulnerable and susceptible to health issues


  • May 19 - Ontario Extends Emergency Orders to Keep People Safe Some Outdoor Recreational Amenities Reopening with Restrictions. More 
  • PSHSA releases COVID-19 Return to the Workplace guidelines. More 
  • Sport Law and Strategy Group releases article on waivers as part of a facilities reopening tools. More 


  • Consider installing movement detectors to activate light switches
  • Provide wall-mounted disinfectant dispensers
  • Discourage the use of shared conference phones and encourage the use of personal mobile phones or laptop softphones for teleconferences
  • Remove whiteboard pens and erasers and encourage individuals to bring and manage their own
  • Recommend where possible that all sinks and soap dispensers be touchless
  • Provide separate receptacles for used/discarded worker and user PPE
  • Review areas used for individuals to store and secure personal items separately from others (e.g. individual coat hooks rather than coat closets used by the group)
  • Consider providing impervious clothing covers (e.g. dry-cleaning bags) for individuals to cover/ contain their own coats or PPE
  • Designate one location for any deliveries to the building and disinfect items centrally

Infection Prevention & Control In The Recreation Facility Setting Webinar  - View ORFA Webinar

Mark Ambler shared the following links on cleaning chemicals post webinar presentation:

Important Definitions

  • MISTING - Typically operate in the 100-300 PSI range and typically produce droplets about 200 microns in size. Because of the larger droplet size, the mist does not stay suspended that long in the air and will settle on surfaces to make them wet. In environmental cleaning, these are usually portable machines and an operator uses a handheld wand to target a mist stream onto a surface of their choice.  Some of these machines require the use of proprietary chemicals, but most allow the operator to use a disinfectant of their choice.
  • FOGGING - Fogging machines typically produce much finer-sized droplets (approx. 10 microns!) compared to misting, and as such the droplets are able to remain suspended in the air much longer before settling on surfaces. In environmental cleaning, this usually means a room or area is cordoned off and a fogging machine is set up in that space and used without the presence of an operator. Some of these machines require the use of proprietary chemicals, but most allow the operator to use a disinfectant of their choice.
  • ELECTROSTATIC - This is newer technology than misting or fogging that has been adapted to environmental cleaning application. Electrostatic applicators deliver charged droplets that are actively attracted to surfaces, including the back sides and crevices of surfaces for complete “wrap-around” disinfection coverage. It involves a specialized machine that negatively charges an atomized stream of liquid disinfectant. Some of these machines require the use of proprietary chemicals, while others allow the operator to use a disinfectant of their choice.

Member Feedback

In Touch Point Maintenance the following statement appears; Considering that health officials have recommended that common use areas need to be cleaned every 15-minutes to help control virus transmission, facility management will need to re-evaluate and adjust operations based on traffic use.” Other areas make mention to twice-daily”(or similar). Can you provide me with the resource / link to where the 15-minutes came from in order that I can understand the context / application?

ORFA: The source was a webinar that ORFA staff participated in when COVID-19 first began. The context would be better explained as “it could be as often as every 15 minutes”. You need to consider the touch point risk – for example a manual entrance door – this would be the same as a grocery cart cleaning program.

Recently Released ORFA Resources Open for member Review

  • Facility Whole Room Disinfection Guideline, May2020 - More
  • Recreation Supervisor Guide to Worker COVID-19 Screening Exposure Control Planning, May 2020 – More

Other Resources

  • SAFEY BULLETIN – Safe storage and decanting of flammable liquid hand sanitizers during pandemic

Summary of Safety Hazard: Since most consumers are typically looking for containers of 1 litre or less, manufacturers and distributors appear to have greater availability of large containers of hand sanitizer (e.g. 20 - 200 litres containers). Alcohol based sanitizers (e.g. ethyl alcohol, also known as ethanol) are flammable liquids (Class 1B flammable liquid in most cases), with flash points ranging from 12–24°C and boiling points of around 78°C. There are two primary hazards with acquiring large quantities and large containers of flammable liquid sanitizer during a pandemic: storage and static as an ignition source during decanting. Further investigation and development of policy and procedure may be required. More

  • Reusing COVID-19 PPE will require additional research. Consider the following information as you design these types of decisions. More


  • Are you covered for a pandemic? Most businesses and facilities have some form of business interruption policy, for many it is a part of the equipment breakdown policy, that covers loss of profits. However, pandemic is not something that is covered; it is usually specifically excluded on both property and business interruption policies. Property policies require there to be direct physical loss or direct physical damage subject to the policy terms and conditions. To trigger business interruption coverage a necessary interruption to the Insured's business must be caused by a direct physical loss or damage to insured building(s) or other property subject to the policy terms and conditions. A pandemic does not meet these criteria. If an entity wanted pandemic cover, it would have to get a specific endorsement, or maybe even a separate cover. Several court challenges are ongoing on this subject and will assist in setting precedence once complete. Be sure to check with your insurance carrier to understand the current level of coverage.
  • Sample of calculating the maximum capacity of a room.  Consider dividing the net usable area by the square of the locally acceptable social distance (e.g. for a 1.82M (6t) social distance: a 61m (200 sq. ft) room divided by 11m 36 sq. ft.) would have a recalculated maximum capacity of 5 people).
  • As the warm weather arrives, recreation facilities will once again be opened as possible community cooling centres. Be sure to add the redesign of these essential safety areas to the reentry and reopening planning activities.
  • Disclaimer example: Note that any public location where people are present provides an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 and as such we cannot guarantee that you will not be exposed during your visit.
  • Universal Orlando Resort Re-Opening Guidelines offers some good imagery examples for recommended social distancing and safety controls. More 
  • Athletes Ontario releases return to training guideline. More 
  • Canadian Soccer Association Releases COVID-19 Return to Soccer Guidelines as Part of Safe Sport Roster. More