Like most, this was one of the scariest times as a gym owner. I would be lying if the thought of closing down didn’t cross my mind because there were so many unknowns. Especially being located in New York, it seems we will be the last to open up. With that said, we get to learn from everyone else who is opening up before us.
Hopefully, we are only a few weeks away from re-opening making it a perfect time to develop our reentry plan. Below are the procedures I have seen others put in place and what I think are necessary in order to keep a safe and healthy environment.
Everyone needs to put new procedures in place. Business is not as usual. Everyone must adapt in order to prevent the spread of the virus and make people feel safe and comfortable.
Athletes will use the rear entrance wearing gloves and a mask
A non-contact thermal thermometer will be used to scan and record body temperature
Athletes will be directed to wash their hands prior to any workout
A maximum of eight (8) athletes will be permitted in the gym at any time
Athletes will maintain a 10-15 foot distance between other athletes
Equipment will be wiped down BEFORE and AFTER use
There will be six (6) cleaning stations located throughout the gym
Some of these procedures apply to my facility only and are based on the set up and square footage. The amount of people in the gym will be based on what your state announces as safe. I have seen it done in two ways: 5 people for every 1000 square feet or 25% of total occupancy.
In my opinion the thermal thermometer is a no brainer. It is not overly expensive and can give people peace of mind that those inside the facility are not running a fever. Yes, I know people can be asymptomatic and carry the virus, but hopefully the other procedures will prevent any chance of spread.
Some of these procedures are obvious, but it is up to you and your staff to follow through in order to maintain a clean and safe environment. . For example, it is very easy to forget to wash your hands. There needs to be a process in place that ensures the clients immediately wash their hands upon entry into the gym. Having signs around the gym instructing and reminding the clients is an easy way to do this.
Sending out a survey was the first part of my reentry plan. This gave me insight on what my clients were thinking. At the end of the day, I need to make sure they are comfortable sending their children into my facility. Using Survey Monkey, I invited clients to provide me with feedback about the procedures I wanted to put in place.
Here are the questions I asked:
What is your biggest concern upon returning to the gym?
Aside from the procedures mentioned in the email, do you recommend any others?
What new procedures make you feel most comfortable?
What new procedures make you feel uncomfortable?
When allowed will you be okay with returning to the gym with these restrictions?
Any other comments or concerns?
These questions are a great way to gauge what your clients are thinking and how you can make them feel comfortable returning to the gym. Not only that, it gives you an idea of who you can expect will be heading back to the gym when you finally re-open.
Client COVID Pledge
A concern for most is the fear others won’t comply with the rules. One way to get everyone to comply is to have everyone sign a pledge sheet that they will follow the rules in place.
Here is an example of a pledge sheet:
I will follow all new rules and procedures put in place by the gym
I will speak to the gym owner if I see someone not following the rules
I will stay home and quarantine for 14 days if I or someone I have been in contact with has be exposed to COVID-19
There are other things that can be put down, but again this is to make the clients feel comfortable returning to the gym.
Lastly, it is all about communicating with the clients during this process.
Weekly emails of reminders and updates about how things are going.
Social media posts of cleaning the equipment around the gym.
Individual client outreach to check in on each person and get their feedback.
There needs to be a constant open line of communication between the gym and the clients in order to create a safe and happy environment.
I hope this article helps you. We are all in this together so if you have any additional comments, please share!