Climbing Gym Reopening!

Posted: June 7, 2020

OVERhang Phases: COVID-19 Mitigation of Disease Transmission


Phase A (June 16): Members Only and Youth Competitive Team

Phase B (June 29): Members Only and Summer Camps (at different times of day, with cleaning between)

Phase C (date to be announced): Members and Punch Card Holders

Phase D (date to be announced): Members, Punch Card Holders, and Day Passes

Phase E (date to be announced): Fully reopened: members, punch cards, day passes, bookings, classes, & kids programs.

Note: timing and details will be subject to change as we learn and adapt through the process of gradual reopening!
OVERhang’s measures follow the province’s four categories of disease transmission control measures:
  • “Physical distancing measures – measures to reduce the density (intensity and number of contacts) of people in your setting
  • Engineering controls – physical barriers (e.g. plexiglass barriers; one-way systems for customer flow; physical space between seating)
  • Administrative controls – rules and guidelines to reduce the likelihood of transmission in your setting (e.g. stay away if sick; hours of operation)
  • PPE – use of non-medical masks”

OVERhang Facility Management for Physical Distancing:

  • Reduced occupancy of climbing spaces (max 20 climbing clients - does not include any instructors and course participants upstairs, for which we have separate protocols for those).
  • Maximum 6 in boulder cave at a time, encouraging people to be respectful of others looking to boulder, limiting lounging time on the boulder mat.  We will monitor this – may reduce the number further if necessary.
  • In roped rooms: no climbing on adjacent routes (must skip an anchor between climbers).  Route setters are taking this into consideration in their route design.
  • Flow changes – ie how we move people through the facility to help maintain at least 2m between each person:
    • Who has priority in narrow spots (front hallway, stairs, etc)
    • Counter-clockwise flow through climbing spaces: one way into boulder cave from hallway, out into roped room… same thing for Programming Room.  No changes in Main Roped Room.
    • Stickers on floor to indicate spacing, flow, zones.
    • We now have the ability to check people out when they leave.  Staff will check visitors in and out diligently (see Contact Tracing Plan below).
    • Opening up the space by moving lockers, shoe racks, and garbage can, & discouraging lounging on the benches.
    • Installation of plexiglass across both front office windows
    • No members in office or party room
    • When gym is open to members, we will usually only need one staff member working, who will also do ongoing cleaning of high-touch surfaces at front desk and doorbell, as well as hallways, bathrooms, doors, and bench areas.


Cleaning Plan:

  • Daily cleaning of floors, high-touch surfaces, doors, bathrooms, etc.  Staff will receive specific training and guidance.
  • Staff also frequently sanitizing high-touch surfaces while gym is open
  • Sanitisation period between camp & open hours
  • Weekly deep clean by a contractor
  • OVERhang’s belay devices and belay carabiners will be sanitized after they are returned by members
  • Staff will follow a much more detailed cleaning plan - this summary simply provides an overview to clients.

General Hygiene:

  • The Golf and Curling Club has automatic door openers for the lobby doors (push with knee or hip), and hand sanitiser in the lobby.  Members encourage to use all these features before approaching OVERhang’s door.
  • OVERhang staff & clients will be required to wash their hands immediately upon entry into our wing facility, and encouraged to wash frequently throughout their session, and on their way out
  • Foot openers installed on OVERhang doors so no need to touch with hands
  • Discourage touching faces
  • No shared chalk (we may actually implement a Liquid Chalk Only policy – if so we will ease the transition by providing it for free initially, and available for purchase later)
  • No rental shoes/harness/chalk bags
  • Signage throughout the facility about prevention of disease transmission
  • Hand sanitizer also available throughout the facility

Member Education:

  • Phone calls and emails to members in advance of gym reopening, to ensure expectations are understood
  • New waiver identifying risks, and need to comply with policies designed to protect staff and clients
  • All users will be informed that anyone at higher risk of experiencing severe illness should not participate
  • Signage in lobby and inside our facility
  • No one with symptoms, in close contact with anyone symptoms, or that has travelled outside BC in previous 14 days will be allowed in the facility.  This includes staff and clients.  Everyone will be asked to self-assess, but staff can also turn people away if they are exhibiting symptoms.  Staff will be trained in identifying symptoms, and strategies for handling these situations.

Reducing touch points:

  • Online transactions (purchase memberships online before coming to the gym)
  • Online waivers (renew waivers online before coming to the gym)
  • No rentals (harness, shoes, chalk bags)
  • No showers (just change rooms)
  • No water fountain (fill water bottles from sinks)
  • No members allowed in Party Room (staff room only, until Phase B)


  • Use of non-medical masks that cover the user’s mouth and nose will be strongly encouraged for staff and clients when in common areas like hallways, but not required.  We do not expect people to wear them while climbing – rather everyone should wash their hands immediately before and after climbing, and avoid touching their face.
  • OVERhang will have masks available for staff that choose to wear them, when they can’t maintain at least 2m distance from other people.
  • OVERhang will also have masks available for members to purchase at a reasonable price, should they choose to wear them.
  • Eye protection will be available for staff that choose to wear them, when they can’t maintain at least 2m distance from other people.
  • Nitrile gloves are always available to staff too, although we will ensure everyone is educated about the greater benefits of frequent and thorough handwashing and good hygiene.
  • A separate PPE document and protocols has been developed for route setters and route strippers.

Contact Tracing Plan:

We absolutely do not want any staff or clients to become infected with COVID-19.  However, risk of disease transmission is always a possibility, even when we do our best to minimise it.  So, if a person is identified to have a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection, then we will activate our contact tracing plan:
  • We will diligently check in all visitors into our member-management software, and check them out when they leave, too.
  • With a few quick taps we can produce a contact tracing report from our software, which allows us to see who was in facility at same time as a given client, and for how long (length of exposure), over a given time frame.
  • With that in hand, we would collaborate with health officials in tracking down and informing all visitors and staff that were potentially exposed.
  • If requested by health officials, we would close the gym temporarily, and modify our protocols if necessary.

Phase B:  Summer Camps during weekdays, Members only on evenings and weekends

  • No overnight camps
  • Increased minimum age of campers to age 8
  • Camps separated in time from open hours
  • Camp staff separate from staff that are running open gym hours
  • Cleaning after camp day, before open hours
  • Reduced number of kids in camp to a maximum of 16
  • Kids are there for full week… no one-day registrants
  • Kids allowed upstairs but not in training area; members welcome in training area but not on couches in general upper hallway.
  • No kids or members in first aid room or classroom – only course participants, instructors, and staff
  • Move lockers or cubbies into party room, locker assigned to each camp kid for their backpack, shoes, etc
  • Harness and shoes designated for each kid will reside in their locker in the party room for the week (and shoes sprayed at end of camp day)
  • Individual camp staff will have designated belay devices, biners, and headlamps for the week, that will reside in their lockers when not in use
  • No shared food
  • Frequent handwashing will be a core element of every camper's day - when first entering facility, before and after eating, and encouraged frequently at any other time
  • Staff will have hand sanitiser available whenever outside the facility for outdoor games, tennis, golf, etc
  • Camp staff will develop a list of games and activities that allow for physical distancing, and will make strong efforts to keep everyone 2m apart as much as possible
  • No Rollerdome (it's harder to control transmission risks inside another facility), at least initially
  • Lots of outdoor time!  This is the best way to reduce transmission risks, after physical distancing.  We can set up badminton, soccer, basketball, outdoor crafts, water games, etc.
  • Several times per week, campers and staff will walk to an offsite location for outdoor games
  • Pickup and dropoff outside only - no parents, siblings, grandparents etc inside our facility
  • Daily verbal screening for symptoms
  • Kids and staff must stay home if exhibiting symptoms, even if mild
  • If a kid starts to develop symptoms while at camp, we will move them into a different space and contact the parents to come pick them up immediately
  • Parents will be informed that anyone at higher risk of experiencing severe illness should not register for camps.