While many Fitness Clubs and Studios in the US, Europe and around the globe are just a few weeks into club closures, our hearts ache for the very difficult decisions so many owners and operators have to make. We at Foundation Fitness and Stages Cycling want to help. Our goal over the coming days is to re-share clear, informed ideas that fitness centers, clubs and studios of all sizes can quickly review, consider and adopt as they apply to confidently prepare for the safest and healthiest return to business and reduce opportunity for another spike in COVID-19 infection.
Let’s start with In-house Cleanliness & Employee + Member safety.
We’ve outlined ideas put forth by Colin Grant, CEO, at Pure International. Colin presented an IHRSA webinar on Mar 19. Pure Int’l, with 30 locations across South Asia, is roughly 50-60 days ahead of the rest of the world in his actions taken at clubs due to forced closures caused by COVID-19.
Thank you Colin for giving the ok to share your ideas. For the complete webinar listen here;
What Clubs/Studios Can Be Doing Now During Club Closures
By late December it quickly became apparent to the team at Pure International that reopening yoga and fitness clubs in the age of CoronaVirus would not be a “flip of the light-switch” so much as a slow roll. Working closely with local governments and taking input from staff and
members, Pure made dramatic changes to the day to day operations within their clubs, evaluating everything from limiting club occupancy (fewer guests in at a time,) shorter workout duration per guest, smaller group exercise classes, constant and consistent cleaning, potentially no access to laundry service, steam, sauna, pools, childcare, towel service clothes-lending etc. at least for the time being.
Our goal: Take a quick scan of each consideration and you decide, “Yes, this item applies. Let’s consider it.” or “Nope” … We hope this shortens your processing time and lessons your stress.
Priority 1: The safety and comfort of anyone coming into our place of business whether front lines and customer facing or behind the scenes, office and other staff. Any concerns should be discussed and resolved. As gyms open again to the public there is inherent risk of infection. Company guidelines should be discussed and implemented.
Priority #2: Be consistent and confident in messages passed along to employees, staff and members
Club Hours and Operations:
Modify Club Hours. This method was implemented by Pure and is being shared for your
- Review and create Club Safety Guidelines for when doors reopen
a. See attached Club Safety Guidelines on www.foundationfitness.net/news
b. How will this be communicated? Company email, social media, signage
- Deep clean facility prior to reopening then daily, weekly as needed.
- Repair, replace or remove broken or non-functioning equipment if possible
- Create and post signage with specific, Club Safety Guidelines
- Modiffy Club Hours. This method was implemented by Pure and is being shared for your consideration.
a. Limited workout times per gym-goer Ex. 7:00 am Allow people in. Workout for 19 minutes (staff cleaners cleaning), everyone out, deeper clean where needed
7:30am repeat Allow people in… continue pattern until end of day.
b. Full Day or limited hours?
- Limits to services i.e. café & food service. Child care?
Additional staff may be needed to handle specific safety measures when doors reopen.
- Front Desk- Mandatory temp check of everyone coming in, members and staff. [Notes from Pure will be added to our www.foundationfitness.net/news
- Front Desk- answering questions about safe distancing, travel bans, other guidelines
- Cleaners – staff in place to disinfect each piece of equipment, yoga mat, block, functional training gear, dumbbells etc. etc after each use
Evaluate Stock of Cleaning supplies:
Take stock of brands that will clean and disinfect against the virus but will not damage gear, equipment pads or injure anyone. For CDC guidelines visit this link:
- For protection of bikes, please do NOT use:
a. Virex products (bad for bike finishes and plastics)
b. Ammonium chloride products (will eat metal)
- Latex and non-latex disposable gloves and sturdier cleaning gloves: evaluate quantities needed for regular cleaners
- Masks: Discuss the mask requirement for your club. In China, wearing a mask increases the comfort level of both staff and members. Opinions are turning in the US.
a. In Pure clubs, all front-end staff, cleaners and PTs wear a mask at all times. Office staff or behind the scenes, masks were optional.
- Thermal guns: Quality brands, consider that some brands require periodic calibration. Select guns that hover and do not touch.
- Hand Sanitizing stations – visible and distributed throughout the gym spaces. The more sanitizing stations placed, the higher the comfort level for members and staff.
- Hand soap for bathrooms or portable handwashing stations in far corners of the gyms. Increase in handwashing raises the demand for soap.
- Trash cans and liners
Employee Training and Information Sharing: One of the best ways to share new guidelines or things to improve upon.
- Practical Training
a. Customer Service Skills
b. Internal workings of the company / Club operations, Our “Why”
c. Social media – How to create and how to develop consistent messaging “We’re
here for you!”
d. Instructors – get on social media and get word and workouts out
- Training for the New Normal:
a. New Guidelines for members and staff- what has changed? How-to?
b. Everyone has temp taken before entering (members and staff)
i. If elevated, sit for 5 minutes, test again. If still elevated no admittance, documented in the system
c. Everyone hand-sanitize before entering (or hand wash station)
d. If you’ve travelled, Stay Away 14 days
e. (will there be) Reduced Club Hours and workout times?
f. No touching! Eliminate any contact between PT or Yoga instructor and members etc. and maintain safe distance at all times. 1-2 meters, consider a mask.
g. New stricter cleaning requirements
h. Fewer bikes per class, fewer yoga participants per class
i. Vigilant cleaning of all yoga, pilates etc materials
j. Yoga blankets, bolsters – eliminated or byo?
Make decisions about other revenue sources
- Shoe rental yes or suspended
- Revenue opportunities for club- yoga, cycling?
- Massage and Bodywork – delayed until considered safe
a. Establish safety requirements
b. Sheets and laundry care – how will this be handled?
What is expected of each member when they come in to the gym on each visit and how best to communicate this:
- Healthy, no temp, no travelling or 14 day self quarantine
- Hand washing and Hand sanitizing
- No touching, safe distance, 6ft, 2 meters
- Clean up workout stations, cardio, benches etc.
a. How? With what? How to dispose of cleaning items?
- Remind members, current, cancelled or suspended that the club will be a clean, safe environment
- Share via leadership email
- Share via social media
We hope you’ve found this useful! Keep your eyes here; Foundation Fitness LLC and Stages Indoor Cycling for other helpful insights.
We again want to thank Colin Grant and Pure International for graciously sharing this information, knowing we will all be better for helping one another.
For full details, signage images and Q&A, please take a listen to the full webinar: https://www.ihrsa.org/publications/coronavirus-conversations-club-operations-part-1/ )