As pressures rise and gym owners seek clarity, some are choosing to open their gyms before they’re allowed to do so. This statement from the CrossFit Risk Retention Group sums up the risks well:
“It is imperative that gyms comply with the applicable governmental guidelines. In some states, CrossFit affiliates are allowed to open; in other states, they’re not. Make sure that you check frequently with your local government to determine the current status affecting your box. For purposes of coverage under your RRG policies, the RRG will consider gyms to be lawfully operating where they comply with the direction/orders of their city, county and/or state government.
“The RRG is receiving reports of some local cities and municipalities issuing orders allowing gyms to open (with limitations), which appear to conflict with a broader lockdown order issued by the state. The RRG is not (in) a position to adjudicate which governmental order is most legally effective. In the event of a conflict between a city or county order and that of the state, for purposes of the RRG policies, the RRG will consider gyms to be lawfully operating where at least one governmental order (city, county or state) permits the gym to open. In the event of a conflict described above, the RRG encourages gyms to keep a record (printout or other digital evidence) of applicable orders permitting gyms to open in their respective areas, so that this evidence can be produced in the event of a dispute or claim.
“There may be additional distancing or sanitation requirements once affiliate gyms are allowed to resume operation. Knowledge of and compliance with these requirements are important so as to avoid potential fines/fees, criminal charges or even additional lockdown measures. Opening your box prematurely may be a violation of the law and could also negatively impact your insurance coverage. Again, compliance with applicable laws and regulations is critical.
“We are frequently asked about whether the RRG will exclude/limit coverage in the event an affiliate is sued by a member who claims he/she contracted covid-19 from the box and was injured. It is difficult to provide a specific answer to this question, but your RRG policy contains no restriction or exclusion for coronavirus (typically referred to as a ‘communicable disease exclusion’). This means that it is likely, but not guaranteed, that you would be covered by the RRG policy in the event of a personal injury claim related to covid-19.”
This is the position of NEXO/CrossFit RRG, and the policy terms of others vary widely. You should check with your insurers for specific guidance related to your policies.
Tell your clients exactly what your reopening plans are. Here’s an excellent example from Mike Warkentin at CrossFit 204: Click here.
The Request to Open Gyms (essential designation template letter)
Client Screening Questionnaire
Mandatory Post-Class Checklist
Reopening Procedure SOP (including CDC guidelines)
Covid Awareness Posters (zip file)