Getting ready to reopen your gym or fitness facility after the shutdown? Here are five important things you should be focusing on before you reopen to the “new normal”.
1. Reassess your finances
Talk to your landlord or lender. Can you extend your lease or get some sort of relief? You'll need to make sure you can cover losses and increased expenses that you’ve incurred from being physically closed for the last several weeks.
Look at debt services—is there a way to restructure/clean up your debt? Now is the right time to make sure you’re as fiscally responsible and healthy as possible.
2. Take time to deep clean and declutter
Clean is king! Welcome members back to a space that’s free of clutter, cleaned and sanitized. Minimal or no clutter in your gym = less places for germs to hide! A coat of fresh paint, a decluttering session, and a deep clean are in order. Check out our deep cleaning guide for a complete list of products you’ll need, as well as step-by-step procedures.
Tip: It’s a good idea to take down artwork and use this time to remove any unwanted items from your welcome desk or reception area.
3. Communicate and build trust with your members
You can’t over communicate, whether you choose to do it via email, text, chat or social media. Reach out on a regular basis. Let them know you’re cleaning and disinfecting and creating a safe space for them. Better yet—show them on social media with videos and pictures. Your community will feel better about returning to the gym if they feel safe and trust you!
Tip: Once you re-open, keep reinforcing this message to your clients. There will no doubt be a group of members that are hesitant to return right away. Showing them your safe, sanitized facilities will build up their confidence.
4. Set up your space for safety and success
Now is a perfect time to add in additional safety measures—like foot operated or electronic door openers. Reassess the locations of your sanitizing and hand washing stations. Are there enough in your facility so that they’re easily accessible by members and staff?
Fitness equipment: As you declutter and reorganize your equipment, look to rearrange for max social fitnessing. Unplug every other machine, or move them apart by eight feet—picture the wingspans of users. Six feet is closer than you think, especially when it comes to equipment like treadmills.
Staff and member safety: much of this will be dictated by your local government. Will masks be needed for both staff and members? Do you have enough masks, gloves, cleaning and disinfecting supplies on hand? Do you have a detailed cleaning protocol in place (another good thing to communicate to members).
You may need to watch occupancy rates, and limit the number of people in your facility at a given time. Consider special hours just for senior citizens or at-risk populations.
This is also a good time to look at freshening up your member contracts—including adding a COVID-19 liability waiver with an assumption of risk—again, this will vary by state.
Tip: Clients (and staff!) will labor more when breathing with a mask on, so adjust intensity accordingly.
5. Consider programming tweaks
Many of you made the switch to online programming during the shutdown. Consider ways in which to keep this new portion of your business viable, especially with members who can’t or won’t return right away.
Classes may need to become one on one sessions due to social distancing measures, or limited in size. Online signups for classes can help with scheduling and gauging class programming.
Tip: Approach lagged members for a free 30-day membership if they come back, and have the offer expire in 90 days—this could reactivate some inactive members, and help your bottom line.
Keep in mind:
- It will not be business as usual for any facility (or any business) once we open back up.
- Be flexible and maneuver around the changes as best you can. The first three to five months after you open up will shape your facility and operations going forward.
- Listen to your members, they’ll tell you what you need to do!
- This informative article from Club Insider is full of suggestions and ideas from club owners and managers around the country on what they are expecting and doing to re-open.