IDEAS ON HOW TO IMPLEMENT NEW GUIDELINES FOR FITNESS FACILITIES
As soon as fitness facilities are allowed by the government to reopen again, you will probably have to follow strict guidelines. No matter what your government’s regulations, it’s important you ensure a safe and healthy environment for your staff and members. Although reopening gives members positive benefits like distraction from the virus, the execution of the operation is unfortunately not as simple as it was before. We would like to give you some ideas on how to comply with the new regulations.
SOCIAL DISTANCING IN YOUR GYM
As we all know, we will be living in a so called '2-metre society', and this will be no different in gyms. It is important to follow this rule, but how do you manage to keep your members distanced?
Ensure a minimum of two metres distance between the fitness equipment. If this is not possible think of other solutions such as Perspex ‘dividing walls’ or folding screens. You can also use stickers or barrier tape to prevent members using specific machines but make sure to keep your club neat. To make sure your facility doesn’t look like a construction site, it might be wise to strategically set up the displays of the cardio equipment with dedicated instructions, such as ‘out of order’ or ‘clean after use’.
Remove the saddles from half of your indoor bikes so these can’t be used. Close the locker rooms and showers as it’s very difficult to maintain and check strict measures. This also applies to the swimming pool; try to minimize the use of water supplies. Also close or limit the bar facilities.
STORAGE & SPACING OF YOUR FITNESS EQUIPMENT
Temporarily expanding your gym floor space might be a great solution to rearrange your equipment. Perhaps you can rent an extra location next door or some space on another floor to fill with treadmills for the time being or investigate the possibilities to build a tent on the car park.
It might be worth it to reevaluate the purpose of the relatively expensive group exercise studios. In the case you have multiple studios, one studio may be sufficient for now, whilst the second one can be used for running classes on the treadmill or rowing classes. Replacing the cardio equipment to your group exercise studios results in more space on the gym floor.
ROUTING IN YOUR GYM
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 with signage when creating routing and ‘one-way traffic’. Use tape and other signage to point out distancing.
It’s wise to consider a ‘clockwise’ flow and – if possible – separate the entrance from the exit. This makes it possible to easily oversee the facility and regulate the amount of people. It's also quite easy to coach.
COMMUNICATION WITH MEMBERS
Communication is everything! The only way to manage a successful and safe reopening is with 100% preparation and co-operation of both staff and members. Safety is not only a matter for your staff, members are as much responsible when it comes to their own health and the health of others.
Inform your members in advance by outlining the importance of following these rules and the consequences of not following them! Ask them to prepare themselves in order to prevent disappointment and – most of all – the risk of contamination.
The forecast is that a limited amount of people will be allowed to enter the club at the same time – especially in the first phase. It’s important to prepare and have a seamless solution to manage this. The most 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 yet, 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. Another great advantage of a booking tool is that it avoids queues in front of your club.
Understand you restrict your members and they don’t have the freedom to come and train whenever, as often or as long as they want. This could be a potential problem, so it is key to communicate in time and be transparent - after all, it’s this or nothing at all. Since you are probably not the only gym with this way of working, there is no reason for them to leave your facility. Again, communication is key.
Life Fitness can help you, by drawing or redesigning club layouts. Please contact us to discover the possibilities.
Do you want to have more practical hints and tips on how to prepare for the reopening of your gym? Stay tuned for our free e-book coming soon…