Camp Zama gyms, patrons work together to maintain safety under COVID-19

Hiroto “ET” Mizukabo cleans a machine in the weight room at the Yano Fitness Center at Camp Zama, Japan, Aug. 27. (Photo Credit: Winifred Brown)
Hiroto “ET” Mizukabo cleans a machine in the weight room at the Yano Fitness Center at Camp Zama, Japan, Aug. 27. (Photo Credit: Winifred Brown)

Camp Zama gyms, patrons work together to maintain safety under COVID-19

by Winifred Brown
U.S. Army

CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Aug. 28, 2020) – Personnel at Camp Zama fitness centers and pools have implemented several measures to open facilities and help keep patrons safe from COVID-19, and patrons have assisted by supporting those measures.

As a whole, customers are aware of the need for precautions and are happy most facilities are open, so they have stringently followed protocols, said Stefan Thompson, chief of fitness, athletics and aquatics for Camp Zama’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

The Army follows five health protection condition levels, and Camp Zama is currently at HPCON C.

Under HPCON B and C, personnel have placed hand sanitizer and disposable towels at strategic locations throughout the facilities; provided a bleach solution approved by Public Health Activity – Japan; ventilated rooms; instituted room capacities; and spaced exercise equipment to comply with social distancing measures, Thompson said.

In addition, under HPCON C, the locker rooms are closed, there are no group fitness classes and the spa and sauna areas are closed, Thompson said.

Other initial considerations included reduced operating hours to limit the number of people in facilities, Thompson said.

“The staff has been doing such a great job cleaning, customers have been very accountable, and primarily, have been following all of the rules,” Thompson said. “We have our normal operating hours at this point.”

Patrons, however, who would like to visit the Yano Fitness Center at slower times should visit between 9 and 11:30 a.m. and from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., Thompson said.

At the Yano Fitness Center, about 65% of the facility’s exercise equipment is in the gym, with windows open and fans on to provide as much ventilation as possible, Thompson said.

“Plus it allows us to disburse the equipment with a very generous two- to three-meter distance between each machine to not breach that social-distancing mitigation,” Thompson said.

At satellite facilities, such as the Sagamihara Family Housing Area Gym, personnel have made hand sanitizer and bleach solution available at all times and have also placed exercise equipment with social distancing in mind, Thompson said.

Because there are no personnel on duty at the SFHA Gym, personnel depend on a community policing concept to ensure people are following the rules, Thompson said. The gym at Sagami General Depot is currently closed for construction and the relocation project is underway.

“We have signage posted at the facilities alerting [patrons] to our numbers if there’s a safety breach of any kind, not just a COVID-19 protocol,” Thompson said. “We highly encourage patrons to give us a call so we can get somebody on site and check out and analyze the situation.”

Patrons help make the system work, Thompson said.

“If something doesn’t look right, please bring it to our attention and we’ll take a look at it and see if we have to take other action,” Thompson said.

Patrons should come in clean, and should use hand sanitizer on their way in and out to make sure their hands are clean, Thompson said.

“Also, just heed the posters,” Thompson said. “The posters will tell you. They ask patrons to please disinfect equipment before and after each use and use the hand sanitizer.”

In terms of the pools, the Yano Fitness Center pool is open with one patron per lane; lap swimming only; and no group physical training formations, said Aaron Messisco, aquatics manager for Camp Zama’s FMWR.

The SFHA Pool is open, and allows up to 60 people to enter for three, two-hour waves throughout the day, Messisco said. The locker rooms and the barbecue pavilion are closed.

Thompson said that FMWR personnel consult with officials at Public Health Activity – Japan before making any decisions, every step of the way.

Also, it is especially important during the current postures that all patrons either check in electronically by scanning their ID card, or sign in when using all fitness facilities, Thompson said.

Subscribe to our Stripes Pacific newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, cultural information, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!

Follow us on social media!

Facebook: Stars and Stripes Pacific
Flipboard: Stars and Stripes Community Sites

Looking to travel while stationed abroad? Check out our other Pacific community sites!
Stripes Okinawa
Stripes Korea
Stripes Guam

Base:

Recommended Content