Gyms vigilant as swine flu spreads

The swine flu epidemic has captured the attention of every citizen in the world – especially gym owners.

Governments are extremely concerned about the spreading of the potentially deadly illness and are taking as many precautions as possible.

So far, the swine flu virus has not hit Cayman but health authorities here are not taking any chances. Huge batches of Tamiflu, an anti-viral medication have been bought.

Swine flu was supposed to have originated in Mexico, which is not that far from Cayman.

Health clubs, sports clubs and gyms here have generally good hygiene measures but many are not taking any chances and have increased their vigilance on cleanliness.

Ernest Ebanks, owner of Body Sculptor, said: ‘We have always had hand sanitizers throughout the gym and provide paper towels to wipe down machines, which we feel are adequate measures.

‘Additionally, we have posted notes in the bathrooms advising members to make sure they wash their hands.

‘We also have disinfectant bottles everywhere which is the first line of defence.

‘No, we’re not dispensing face masks yet!’ he laughed. ‘When the government gives us a Level 6 warning, then we might.’

Floyd Baptiste runs the Purple Dragon karate gym. ‘We have not imposed any restrictions on our members but have always encouraged everyone to always wash their hands.

‘We have extra-bacterial hand washes and because we have a lot of children training here we always encourage them not to come in if they have a cold.

‘We have a policy of giving the place a good clean down on a regular basis and we’re listening intently to the news to monitor any new developments.’

Robert Musselwhite of Curves feels swine flu is just another strain of regular flu and that there has been a huge over reaction, sparked by the media.

He said: ‘Like all gyms with a good hygiene policy we take all the standard precautions to ensure we limit the spread of any germs.’

Glen Duran is fitness director at King’s Sports Centre. He said: ‘Traditionally we had members wipe down equipment themselves but since I came, I’ve taken it on myself to wipe machines down whenever I do a walk through.

‘There has been little concern from our members about swine flu, partly because it hasn’t reached Cayman yet.’

‘World Gym is preparing for a potential swine flu pandemic outbreak by developing and implementing pandemic preparedness and business continuity plans,’ said Tertius Broderick, Cayman’s World Gym owner.

‘Although experts are unable to predict the potential severity and duration of the worldwide flu pandemic World Gym is developing pandemic preparations protocols in conjunction with our usual seasonal influenza preparedness plans.

‘These plans include identifying essential employees and prioritize core activities necessary to stay operational and to develop our existing basic hygiene precautions such as hand washing, covering cough or sneeze, avoid touching eyes, noses and mouth.

‘We also clean and sanitize equipment several times per day and we have increased our inspection of ventilation and filtration systems.

‘In the event of a full-blown outbreak in Cayman we have developed an emergency management plan.’