Things are going to be a little different at health clubs for a while. No matter what guidelines look like after reopening, it’s important you ensure a safe and healthy environment for your staff and members. Although reopening should provide your members with positive benefits like exercise and much-needed distraction from the virus, the execution of the operation is unfortunately not that simple.
Social Distancing In the Gym
How do you manage to keep your members distanced? Ensure a minimum distance of at least six feet (likely more depending upon local guidelines) between fitness equipment. Also, consider using plexiglass dividing walls or folding screens. You can also use stickers or barrier tape to prevent members of using specific machines when moving them is not an option. Close the locker rooms and showers as it’s very difficult to maintain and check strict sanitation measures in them. This also applies to the swimming pool. Close or limit accessibility to areas where members tend to congregate.
Rethink Your Equipment Layout
Temporarily expanding your gym floor space might be a great solution if it’s possible. Try to create workout spaces from areas that are unused. It might be worth it to reevaluate the current use of group class studios. If you have multiple studio areas, one may be sufficient for now, while the others can be used for cardio workouts. Moving some of your cardio equipment to group class studios results in more space on the gym floor. Basketball courts, if your facility has them, provide plenty of space and are a great secondary cardio room option.
Designate New Traffic Patterns
Create one-way traffic lanes to control the flow of members in your gym. This can easily be done by using arrows and stop signs. The key is to be very clear when creating routing and ‘one-way traffic’. If possible, try to create a separate entrance and exit. This makes it possible to easily oversee the facility and regulate your capacity.
Communicate with Members
Clear communication is essential. The only way to manage a successful and safe reopening is with 100% preparation and cooperation from both staff and members. Safety is not only a concern for your staff, members are equally as responsible when it comes to their own health and the health of others. Inform your members in advance about rule changes and the importance of following new guidelines. Let them weigh in on their concerns, so that you can provide them with solutions and peace of mind.
Set Up a Booking System
During the first months after reopening, it’s likely that there will be capacity limits. It’s important to prepare and have a seamless solution to manage this. One obvious solution is to adjust the current group classes booking tool or other digital systems that you have access to – this also to make the lives of your members easier. If you don’t have a booking tool for your group classes, or this tool isn’t sustainable, there are plenty of other fairly cheap and simple (online) tools available. Consider a limited amount of bookings per member per week to give all members equal opportunities.
There are lots of new considerations to think about in the post-shutdown world. But with thoughtful execution and planning you can create a welcoming environment for your members.