Reopening After CoronaVirus
Your gym has been closed for weeks. The benches and barbells are lonely, you are dreaming of chalk flying everywhere, sweat dripping from everyone’s nose and PR’s falling to the ground after a long period away from the grind. But the world isn’t the same anymore and standards have to improve. What’s the best way to reopen your gym? How can you open up and ensure safety for all members?
The United States is slowly starting to reopen after the long period of quarantine. In some states, traffic and movement is back in full swing while in other states like New York and Pennsylvania, getting back to “normal” may take a while and rightfully so. Business owners need to take the current situation seriously and improve their own processes around the operation. Enhancing cleanliness and improving on-site systems is imperative to maintain communal health for everyone’s training and working.
At Garage Strength, we have designed a large system of recovery from the Coronavirus. We have spent time discussing protocols with a medical provider while also contacting local government officials to design the best methods around reopening our business. Providing a world class training environment while still protecting the health of our athletes and clients is the utmost key to our comeback from the Coronavirus and here is a list of EIGHT key things we have done to prepare for the reopening.
1. Create a Plan Around Gym Cleanliness
This means a plan around how the gym floor will be cleaned regularly, how barbells and equipment will be cleaned, how frequently will the bathrooms be cleaned and how frequently will the entire training center get a thorough cleaning? These plans need to be communicated to all employees multiple times to ensure a full understanding of the operations AND it needs to be expressed to all clients to ensure confidence in coming back to on-site training.
Make personal cleaning stations that clients can use regularly and make them easily accessible. Employees should consistently inform clients about the cleaning stations and the chemicals should be restocked consistently.
2. Clarify New Personal Etiquette!
We are recovering from a pandemic. Clients need to recognize their own role within the gym has changed. Bringing their own personal hand sanitizer and their own chalk is only reasonable and responsible. This will help minimize the transfer of germs and ensure the community can continue to crush weights and smash PR’s while upholding the new standard. It will also be ideal for clients to personally clean their own training stations, similar to what is typically seen in a commercial gym location.
3. Establish a Capacity Cap
Let customers know and understand how many people will be allowed into the gym at any given time. At Garage Strength, we have an open gym floor model while everyone still gets personal training prescribed by their trainer. This can lead to very busy times throughout the day and this is something that needs to be avoided for the time being.
Figure out how many people can be in each given room or location of your gym based around square footage, the number of trainers, and proper social distancing standards. Set a schedule and establish that ahead of time and communicate the new schedule and planning to keep clients safe!
4. Protocol for Sickness
Inform and educate clients AND employees about how to handle sickness. If there is a fever or coughing that is unrelated to allergies, clients need to know they cannot train for the time being. Create a time lapse based off their timing, keep in contact with the clients and make sure they feel well, learn if they have been tested for the coronavirus and establish how many negative tests they have had IF they have indeed tested positive. Remember, it is incredibly important to let everyone know that this is for the safety of the gym and to protect the gym community from any outbreak!
5. Mask Requirements!
Clarify who must wear a mask and WHEN they are to wear a mask to prevent the spreading of any germs. In Pennsylvania, we are forced to wear medical masks in public. Establishing who wears the masks during training and knowing that our spotters and employees are wearing masks will help prevent any disease transfer!
6. Train with the Doors Open!
If you have doors that can open and you can keep an outdoor air flow going through your gym, keep the doors open and let airflow come through the weight room! Get the doors open and keep everyone safe and healthy as they are back on the grind. This will keep the gym healthier and fresh air can do wonders for morale!
7. Create Constant
Set up a standard of informing your clientele about your protocols and methods used to maintain cleanliness. Set up a schedule of posting on Facebook, posting on Instagram, posting on the Instagram story, sending out on site emails and even posting signs all over the gym! This style of communication should be established and clarified over and over again to ensure your clients that you have control of the situation so they can develop confidence in your procedures. The clearer you are with communication, the better the relationship with your clients will be!
8. Maintain Online Training
At Garage Strength, we have offered a Zoom based online training protocol. This has helped our clients maintain a sense of accountability with their own personal training at home. By continuing to offer online-based training, clients who are concerned about training onsite will value and appreciate the fact that online training is continued to be offered. It may be 6-8 weeks before confidence is developed from a social perspective and before everyone feels stable enough to get out into public and train at their local gym. Online training is something that should be available to all clients!
Set up full blown standards for the gym and fully develop a system around the reopening of your gym. As your new systems are communicated clearly, take advantage of the new touch points you have created with your clients, and consistently inform them of your protocols around each situation. It is important to instill confidence in your clients and confidence in your clients will come from the leadership up top!
Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of clients on building comprehensive programs for fitness and nutrition. Several times a year he leads a workshop for coaches, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts.
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