How to Keep Guests Safe When Reopening the Gym
You’ve seen them all over the internet. Experts, often doctors, talking about going back to the gym, and whether it can be done safely. They come down on both sides and it can be confusing. Don’t break a sweat, though. You can reopen your gym safely as long as you have done your homework, have a comprehensive plan in place, and are committed to following it.
The fitness industry’s non-profit, International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), has put together a comprehensive list of questions geared toward helping you put together a plan tailored for your gym because there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
At the top of their considerations is social distancing and enhanced cleaning. Social distancing could be difficult due to how closely equipment is at the gym, coupled with a lack of extra storage space. One solution to this problem is a panel that lets light through and is geared to be forgotten, except by the sanitation crew.
The SafeDivide panel is a great choice and it doesn’t intrude or make you feel like your treadmill is in a cave.
What Role Does Containment Play?
When it comes to containment, put together a plan that talks about how many people your facility should hold in today’s environment, how you will enforce regulations, what group exercise will look like now, will you continue/start virtual offerings, and how will you put social distancing into place.
Would SafeDivide panels work well, or do you need to remove some equipment? Would a combination of these approaches be an option? Perhaps using panels to aid in the cleaning process—place towels over the machines that are not to be in use. Then switch the towels in a rotating pattern as used machines are sanitized for the next guests. The panels would keep both guests and staff safe during those sanitation procedures.
What is Your Cleaning and Sanitation Plan?
When it comes to cleaning and sanitation, you will need to develop a plan for who cleans what area(s) and train them on the proper way to do it. For instance, what is the most efficient way to clean the machines, the treadmills, stair climber, ellipticals, free weights, and other equipment? Who cleans the locker room? Will showers continue to be available?
You will need to decide if there are any items that cannot be cleaned well and should be removed, or if there are items such as yoga mats that individuals will have to bring from home and clean themselves. There may also be some alternate cleaning methods to consider, such as ultraviolet light or fogging.
Staffing and Operations
You may need to reevaluate your staffing plan due to the additional sanitation duties that you will require. You should also plan training days for everyone prior to reopening so your staff knows exactly what is expected and how it should be done prior to opening day. You may find that it needs to be adjusted periodically due to fluctuations in guest levels.
IHRSA’s list of safety considerations also asks you to evaluate if you will open all sections of your club at the same time, or if you need to make any changes to current services.
As you know, exercise plays an important role in keeping our society healthy, both physically and mentally. Your guests are more than ready to return and are counting on you to develop a plan, put it in place, and let them know what to expect regarding safety when reopening your gym.