A SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO REOPENING YOUR FITNESS FACILITY
As fitness enthusiasts and facility managers look forward towards the pending stage 3 reopening of fitness facilities, Legacy Fitness Products has been doing our research on the steps to do so along with the proposed solutions to keeping the experience as safe as possible. The following details our findings.
The future of fitness facilities seems promising. Initial responses from fitness facilities in phase 3 markets have reported that their most dedicated members, making up 10 per cent of business, returned within the first week of opening. In the following two weeks, attendance increases to 30-40 per cent were experienced and after a month, some centres had reached 50-80 per cent of their capacity.
As businesses begin to open back up, the government requires that physical distancing requirements and sanitization continue to be an important aspect of handling COVID-19. What should you expect to implement in your upcoming business operations? Alexandra Larcom for the IHRSA specifies four categories to consider: containment, cleaning and sanitation, staffing, and operations.
CONTAINMENT. To respect social distancing, you will need to limit the number of people in your facility at one time, this includes staff. One effective way to do this is by having members book their sessions in specified time blocks. This allows for scheduled cleaning in between each session. If patrons are required to check-in, consider moving this process online or place spacing requirements on the floor at the front desk. Some elements of your facility will need additional measures in order to stay safe. Machines will need to be safely distanced from one another. For those that are unmoveable signs can be used to indicate their closure. Alternately the use of dividers may prove to be a viable alternative. Within the free weight areas, sections outlined on the floor are a good way to show the physical distance requirements. Preventing congregation in locker rooms will be difficult but other facilities have chosen to close these areas with the exception of bathrooms.
CLEANING & SANITATION. Staff will play an important part in maintaining the cleanliness of your facility. To start, masks should be worn at all times while working to prevent a possible spread of the virus. Create an outline of cleaning protocols and a schedule in order to properly coordinate staffing and supply needs.
What to Disinfect: Equipment, doorknobs, handles, rails, light switches, sanitizing stations, lockers, bathrooms, sinks, toilets, benches, locker keys, the front desk, keyboards, computers, phones, and instructor equipment.
Products which are difficult to clean may need to be removed from the floor entirely. This includes bands, hand weights, yoga blocks, mats, towels, and foam rollers to name a few. Members should be expected to comply with a list of club expectations such as cleaning their equipment before and after, washing their hands, and covering their mouth when they cough or sneeze.
- Cleaning removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects
- Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects
Sanitizing lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards or requirements
STAFFING. With staff playing such an important role, you will need to determine how many staff members you will need, which staff, and how you intend to communicate changes to their responsibilities and roles. Some alternatives to holding a meeting about new requirements are having staff sign off on an online cleaning and sanitation handbook or holding an online meeting. It is also advised to have staff fill-out and sign a form regarding their current health status. This maintains their credibility and helps keep track of your staff’s well-being. Have your staff use hand sanitizer and if possible, perform temperature checks with touchless thermometers prior to entering the facility.
OPERATIONS. Note: As your facility has been closed for some time it is advised to perform or have performed a routine maintenance of all equipment prior to opening. Once the reopening is communicated with your users, if you choose to have them book their sessions, you will need to ensure that you have a system or software in place and resources to do so. Walk-ins are inevitable, it is strongly advised to determine a method to deal with them and if they will be permitted at all. If you have implemented any services during your closure, consider if they should continue to be offered to your members and how they will align with your existing services. People who are high-risk or live with those who are will continue to benefit from these kinds of distanced services.
For a more detailed checklist, check out Can Fit Pro’s Smart Checklist for Success.
In closing, while there are a handful of newly proposed solutions being marketed to eliminate or minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 it is our belief the best path to success remains washing hands, avoiding touching ones face, clean|disinfect|sanitize surfaces, utilizing partitions where possible and social distancing. Please feel free to contact us if you feel we can be of any assistance with your efforts moving forward.
Can Fit Pro. (2020). A Smart Checklist for Success. London: Canfitpro Healthy Club & Studio.
Larcom, A. B. (2020, April 22). 18 Safety Considerations for Your Health Club Reopening Plan. Retrieved from IHRSA: https://www.ihrsa.org/improve-your-club/safety-considerations-for-your-health-club-reopening-plan/#
Mills, L. (2020, May 25). Coronavirus: How to Relaunch your Club. Retrieved from Fit Biz Weekly: https://fitbizweekly.ca/coronavirus-how-to-relaunch-your-club/
Valerio, R. (2020, May 12). Cleaning, Disinfecting, & Sanitizing Your Gym During COVID-19. Retrieved from IHRSA: https://www.ihrsa.org/improve-your-club/cleaning-disinfecting-sanitizing-your-gym-during-covid-19/
Zogics. (2020, June 1). Your Fitness Facility is Reopening—Here’s How to Create a Culture of Clean. Retrieved from Zogics: https://blog.zogics.com/your-fitness-facility-is-reopening-create-a-culture-of-clean