It’s official! Gyms, studios and fitness centres can reopen from Saturday July 25 after a long, long wait. So, what next?
The customer appetite to get back to in-person classes looks mixed; some are chomping at the bit and others probably need a little more assurance and their confidence to be rebuilt.
The journey back into reopening and beyond will need care, consideration and compassion from all of us: instructors, venue managers and customers.
If we all do that and take the right precautions, we can get everyone active safely once again.
We totally understand there’s a lot to consider for instructors and venue managers, and circumstances can still change quickly; but here are some things you can do to make your classes safer and cleaner for that initial reopening period. (More guidance will come from Move as the reopening momentum builds).
The COVID Kitemark
When you open your doors again from 25th July, we will be showing our members that you're prepared to welcome them back in the new world. This COVID Kitemark shows our members that you are complying with ukactive guidance on reopening physical fitness establishments and have updated the activity timetables and information accordingly. Find out more about the kitemark and how to get yours here.
Here’s what you can do when reopening your fitness venue:
As always when setting expectations for your classes, it’s best to communicate the measures you plan to take in advance.
It’s also always more effective to go through the measures in person with your customers when the opportunity arises, but keep the regular feedback coming too.
Listen carefully and considerately to any individual requests. One thing that we at Move have learned from our Partner and Customer surveys is that the coronavirus pandemic sparks very different reactions in people, and individual situations can vary a lot.
- To help everyone observe this, consider new signage, route (one-way) and spacial markers on the floors (simple masking tape can be enough), as well as rearranged spaces and equipment.
- Reduce the chance of customers congregating before and after classes inside the facility.
- Ensure no one is working out or being active face-to-face.
High hygiene standards
- Offer hand sanitiser and self-cleaning stations around the workout areas and/or near exit and entry points.
- Ensure more frequent and deeper cleaning with thoroughly cleaned equipment after each class.
- Make sure any drinking fountains are removed or put out of use.
- Encourage customers to bring their own equipment eg yoga mats.
- Remind customers that changing and washing facilities might be closed or be less accessible.
- Some venues might offer face masks, some might insist on it, some might not. Make sure you’re clear on the situation well before the class kicks off.
- Take measures with the venue managers to increase ventilation.
- Take classes outdoors where possible and practical.
General and operational measures
- Make sure frequent risk assessments are being taken by the venue managers as levels of activity and attendance grow back (and that you are consulted on them).
- Of course you should be clear that anyone showing symptoms should not attend your classes and they should take personal responsibility to follow Government guidelines.
- If you are in charge of a team, make sure each member is fully informed and trained where necessary.
Here’s what else you can ask your customers to do when returning to your venue:
It’s a great idea to share these suggestions with your customers ahead of any new classes, remind them nearer the time, and take time to go through them in person.
- Ask them to keep distance between themselves and others, being considerate at all times.
- Consider taking classes at quieter times if possible.
High hygiene standards
- Clean equipment before and after each activity while in the venue.
- Consider bringing a small pack of disinfectant wipes and hand sanitiser of their own.
- No ‘sweat’ towels should be taken into the workout areas.
- Recommend to them that they wash workout gear as soon as they get home.
- Shower at home after workouts, not at the venue.
- Bring a face mask if preferred (take a flexible approach with this).
- Bring their own equipment to class if they don’t already i.e. yoga mat.
Remind everyone of the Move community values: respect, compassion and considerate thought. Above all, be kind!
While this guide is not exhaustive, it should cover the main points. That said, there will always be other specific individual actions depending on your offering.
ukactive has also compiled this more extensive document, developed in full partnership with the major fitness and leisure operators, and reviewed by leading medical experts, which is also worth reading and absorbing.
However, we know our Move community will have brilliant suggestions and lessons they learn from their own experiences. Please share them with us - please don’t hesitate to drop us a line.
We can’t wait to see you back in class!