Getting back to the usual routine of fitness training looks very different than it did before this pandemic. Many states are on their way to lifting restrictions and allowing gyms to reopen — but, questions still remain: What will reopening really look like? And what does that mean for gym owners?
As you reopen your fitness facility, one of your first goals will likely be to regain the trust of your current members. When creating new safety measures specific for your gym, follow the recommended CDC guidelines, and try to think about what processes would make your members feel comfortable returning to the gym. With local and state restrictions lifting, it will become your social responsibility, as a gym owner, to do everything you can to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure.
How to get ready for reopening safely:
Cleanliness and sanitation will likely be at the foreground of business operations for a while. Cleanliness has always been highly important in fitness centers, but now it has been given a spotlight. As you make changes to your facility’s routines, add these safety processes to the list (–and consider your state’s recommendations):
- Wellness and temperature screening
- Require your staff to wear face coverings
- Provide training on personal protective equipment
- Designate a sanitation area
- Post updates and signage on health policies
- Encourage or enforce safe social distancing practices
- Update protocols for cleaning and sanitizing equipment
Members First, Prospects Later
When you initially reopen, you will want to focus on bringing back your current members and regaining their trust first, then prospect for new members. Your first goal should be to show your current members that they will be safe working out at your facility.
While you are working to regain the trust of your current members, it is important to be constantly communicating with both them and your staff. This can keep you all on the same page. Your members will then know what to expect and can come prepared.
Though communicating with your members and staff is important, it doesn’t have to end there. Reaching out to your local community can be a great way to build rapport and share the things you are doing to keep everyone safe. Also, take this opportunity to reach out to other businesses in your community – even in other industries – and learn from what they are doing that is successful, so that you can implement that into your own, revised business model.
Listen to what your members and staff have to say once you reopen. Their thoughts are important and are what powers your business. Consider surveying them to find out what they want to see changed or what would make them feel more comfortable and safe working out in your gym.
According to Josh Cherry, CEO, and Director of Franchising at Delta Life Fitness, you will need to be prepared to make micro-decisions. Things are changing daily, and with it being difficult to predict how the next 3-6 months are going to go, you would benefit most from making small, micro-decisions that allow you the flexibility to adapt and shift your strategy.
As we enter this next stage of this pandemic, where local restrictions are lifted for fitness centers, and gyms are permitted to reopen to the public on a larger scale, we will all have to do our part to keep safe.